Art in Parking Garages




City of Boulder and Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program is seeking artists to apply for this public art opportunity at the 11th & Spruce Street Parking Garage in Boulder, CO. This opportunity seeks a public artwork that reflects a “first impression” of downtown Boulder, experienced by both vehicular users of the parking structure as well as multimodal and pedestrians in the immediate vicinity. The selection panel is open to a wide range of public art mediums including 2 dimensional, 3 dimensional, light, and sound artworks. A total project budget of $122,500. is available for this opportunity. The 11th and Spruce Parking Garage can be viewed via Google Maps.


El Programa de Arte Público de la Ciudad de Boulder y la Oficina de Artes y Cultura está buscando artistas para solicitar esta oportunidad de arte público en el estacionamiento de 11th & Spruce Street en Boulder, CO. Esta oportunidad busca una obra de arte pública que refleje una “primera impresión” de el centro de Boulder, experimentado tanto por los usuarios vehiculares de la estructura de estacionamiento como por los peatones y multimodales en las inmediaciones. El panel de selección está abierto a una amplia gama de medios artísticos públicos que incluyen obras de arte bidimensionales, tridimensionales, de luz y sonido. Un presupuesto total del proyecto de $122,500 está disponible para esta oportunidad. El estacionamiento 11th y Spruce se puede ver a través de Google Maps.

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About Parking and Placemaking

Parking structures are typically the first and last encounters that visitors experience in a city. Research shows that people recall best the ending and beginning of an experience than anything that happened in the middle. From a business perspective, this makes a very strong case for why parking garages cannot be overlooked when building strategies to attract and retain customers and visitors. Way too often, parking garages receive greater numbers of complaints rather than praise; making them an ideal space to implement sensitive public art and to develop creative placemaking strategies that use the powers of design, art and culture to transform these complaints and problems into new opportunities. When visitors to downtown Boulder use these parking garages, they get out of their cars and are greeted by an immediate experience of this special community. Escaping the steel and glass of their cars, they feel the weather, hear the sounds, smell the air and see the light of their immediate experience. This experience leaves an impression, and that impression adds to their total experience of Boulder and, perhaps, Colorado. To learn more, visit the Art in Parking plan.

About the 11th & Spruce Parking Structure

Built in 1989, the 11th and Spruce Parking Garage is one of the most utilized and easiest to find structures within the Central Area General  Improvement District (CAGID) with midday peak times. This structure includes many commercial spaces along its façade. Vehicular patrons enter from Spruce, exit from 11th. Pedestrians access commercial spaces from all sides of the structure, including the alleyway along the Southside and throughout the structure.

Public Art: Parameters & Goals

The selection panel identified specific goals for this public art with the hope of creating a unique work of art that complements the Broadway streetscape and character of downtown Boulder:

Appropriate & Unique: The selection panel seeks a one-of-a-kind artwork.
  • Public art experience accessible from both the interior and the exterior of the garage
  • Highly visible and impactful
  • Not impede with safety and functionality of the garage
  • Create a sense of place by connecting people to the parking structure and into greater downtown Boulder
  • Contributes to wayfinding and orientation while in the different levels of the parking garage
  • Artwork should focus on locations outside of any of the commercial frontages/leased spaces so as to not interfere with desires of leaseholders
  • Open to a wide range of public art mediums including 2 dimensional, 3 dimensional, light, and sound artworks

The proposed location for an art installation is at a city-owned parking garage at 11th & Spruce Street.

  • Seek locations visible from both parking garage users and pedestrians, multi-modes outside of the garage
  • Encourage applicants to consider “unexpected” locations: alleys, rooftop, south façade, stairwells, etc.

The selection panel is aware that, within the budget parameters, the project will likely result in a concentrated focus in one of these areas. However, the panel is open to additional ideas from proposing artist(s).

Durability & Maintenance:  

All public art projects in Colorado are exposed to weather, physical stresses, and subject to vandalism and should be fabricated of highly durable, low-maintenance materials. Semi-finalists are encouraged to consult with a professional conservator or fabricator prior to the submission of a final proposal. Artist proposals awarded contracts will be reviewed by the selection panel, the Office of Arts and Culture, the Technical Review Committee (a project-specific technical group comprised of city staff and Broadway Reconstruction Project design professionals), the Boulder Arts Commission, and the City Manager’s Office to ensure conformity with city standards of construction, maintenance and durability, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.  All finalists are expected to stay on budget and to complete work in an approved timeframe, integrated with the overall Broadway Reconstruction Project.


The budget for this commission is $122,500 USD which will be allocated to the artists/team selected by the selection panel. This budget amount is inclusive of all costs associated with the project including, but not limited to, the artist’s design fee, other consultation fees such as structural engineering; insurance, including Colorado Workers Compensation; small tools; materials; fabrication; transportation and installation; including any building or site modification required; travel to and from the site; per diem expenses; project documentation; contingency to cover unexpected expenses and any other costs of any kind. The artist(s) should be aware the project may warrant he/she/they enter into a design-only contract. The project timeline reflects a project that will be integrated within the Broadway Reconstruction Project construction.  Budget will need to include all foundational and infrastructural supports.

Tentative Timeline

September 28, 2022: Deadline for entry (via CAFÉ system)

October 7, 2022: Semi-Finalist Selection

October 10, 2022: Notify Semi-Finalists

October 10th – Oct 31, 2022: Proposal     Development, Site Visit

Week of Nov. 7, 2022: Semi-Finalists present Proposals, Community Engagement

Nov 16, 2022: Staff presents to Boulder Arts Commission for approval, followed by CMO approval and contract draft

Contracting (2-3 months)

Design (2 – 5 months)

Fabrication (3-8 months)

• Install Spring or Fall of 2024

Project Selection Panel

The Art in Parking Garages Public Art Selection Panel is comprised of five voting community members. The technical review committee is comprised of additional non-voting advisors.

Selection Process

Between three to five artists/artist teams will be selected as semi-finalists, and will receive a $1,000 honorarium. Those selected will receive more specific information regarding the site and will have the opportunity to meet with the selection panel and technical review committee during a site visit. The selection panel will interview and/or review proposals from the semi-finalists and recommend finalists for the commission.

Additionally, community engagement is a vital component in Boulder’s decision-making process. Semi-finalists should be prepared to present or have their proposals presented to the public in some fashion during the decision-making process. The final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented to the Boulder Arts Commission and the city manager for final approval.

strata uplift
Selected Finalists David Franklin & Aaron Whelton’s proposal for “Strata Uplift”

Selected Artist(s) – David Franklin & Aaron Whelton (Indianola, WA)

Semifinalists include, and were identified by the selection panel and through a public Request for Qualifications (RFQ):