LaunchPAD, an initiative of Austin's Art in Public Places Program, offers professional development opportunities for local artists interested in a career in public art. By pairing established public artists with those emerging in the field, the program enables local visual artists to gain technical and administrative expertise while providing services benefitting a public art project for the City. LaunchPAD artist opportunities arise from the City of Austin public art projects with a budget over $200,000, as appropriate to the specifics of each project.
LaunchPAD artists will assist the commissioned artists by providing practical and project management-related services. The City of Austin requests qualifications from professional visual artists who live in the Austin metropolitan area. LaunchPAD applications are reviewed as opportunities become available. Applications are accepted on a continually and are reviewed as opportunities arise
- Artist Eligibility
Mid-career and emerging professional visual artists who have resided in the Austin metro area, including Williamson, Travis, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Burnet and Blanco counties, for a minimum of one (1) year, and who have a strong interest in gaining expertise in the public art process are encouraged to apply. Artist must be at least 18 years old.
- Demonstration of some prior work in the public realm is required.
- Artists working in all media are eligible.
- This opportunity is open only once to any given artist - artists who receive a LaunchPAD Artist contract will be removed from the pool of eligible LaunchPAD Artists.
- What will a LaunchPAD Artist be asked to do?
The length of the LaunchPAD Artist contract will mirror the length of the commissioned artist’s total project duration. There is no expectation that an artwork will be created by the LaunchPAD Artist through this program. The LaunchPAD Artist will focus on tasks such as:
- Coordination of, and attendance at, meetings - public, boards and commissions and project-specific meetings;
- Create a Work Plan outlining goals and tasks associated with the project
- Conducting research + writing memos/reports regarding materials, design issues, permitting and local building codes;
- Providing assistance, as agreed with the commissioned artist, in the design, fabrication, and installation of artworks;
- Participation in a minimum of one studio or fabricator visit with the commissioned artist, during design and/or fabrication;
- Support of the commissioned artist in accessing the Austin artist and artisan community
- Other duties as agreed with the commissioned artist that relate to the design, fabrication and installation of the artwork; and
- Production of 2 reports - the LaunchPAD artist is responsible for reporting about the program, describing how the process is functioning, documenting work accomplished, describing the key concepts or lessons learned, getting feedback from the commissioned artist on how the process continues and what the commissioned artist felt the LaunchPAD artist contributed to the project, and summarizing how this experience may contribute to the next steps in the LaunchPAD artist’s public art career.
- What will the commissioned artist be asked to do?
Within the contract for the design and the commission, the commissioned artist will commit to collaborating with the LaunchPAD Artist to support their growth as a public artist by:
- Maintaining open communication with the LaunchPAD Artist on the project throughout the length of the contract;
- Engaging the LaunchPAD Artist in work, as defined above, that will provide benefits to the public art project as well as support furthering the LaunchPAD Artist’s career in public art;
- Scheduling and fully participating in a minimum of one studio visit with LaunchPAD Artist, during design and/or fabrication; and
- Providing feedback for the final report to the LaunchPAD Artist regarding the process and the LaunchPAD Artist’s participation in the overall project.
The funding source for each LaunchPAD Artist’s contract will come from the 2% percent for art portion of eligible funding from the sponsor project, with the understanding that each permanently commissioned work of public art requires a design phase and a fabrication/installation phase.
The LaunchPAD Artist will contract directly with the City for this opportunity. The artist will be paid a fee for the work and will have a limited travel allowance for at least one trip during the design or fabrication phase, as determined in collaboration with City staff and the commissioned artist.
- The LaunchPAD artist will be paid a flat fee of $15,000 per project, divided into milestone payments defined in the contract, which is inclusive of all time and project related costs including insurance; coordination, research, project assistance in the design, fabrication, coordination and installation of artworks; creation of final reports; and possible participation in artist talks or exhibition of work at the end of the project.
- A travel allowance is available to support a studio visit, a trip to the fabricator or other as determined by the scope of the artwork project, in collaboration with the commissioned artist and City staff. Travel expenses must be in accordance with current General Services Office rates for the travel destination.
- Evaluation Criteria
Selection will be made on the merit of the application and the potential for compatible artistic alliance with the commissioned public artist. The selected LaunchPAD Artist will be put under contract with the City of Austin. The selection panel will consider the following evaluation criteria in their review of the applications:
- Artistic merit and expressed interest in pursuing a public art career;
- Expressed interest in working with a commissioned artist;
- Potential to successfully collaborate as a LaunchPAD Artist for a public art project; and
- Demonstrated experience working on at least one public art project, or an art project set in the public realm. An artwork may be considered as a work of public art if it fits one or more of the criteria below.
- It evolved through an idea exchange with others.
- It is/was site-specific and/or integrated into a site.
- It is/was focused on social practice in response to current events or cultural stimulus.
- It is/was set in a location that seeks response from viewers who may not have a particular interest in art.
- Selection Process
Applications will be accepted on a continuous recruitment basis. Artists who meet the eligibility requirements, and successfully submit all the required materials, will be included in a LaunchPAD Artist Pool for consideration for future projects. When a public art project includes a LaunchPAD Artist, a selection panel made up of the
- The commissioned artist;
- A member of the AIPP Panel; and
- The Arts Commission Liaison to the AIPP Panel
The selection panel will review the LaunchPAD applications submitted to date, including letter of interest, images of recent and relevant work, resume(s), and other information submitted by applicants. They may choose to hold interviews. They will select a LaunchPAD Artist and an alternate for the project.
Current LaunchPAD Artists
- LaunchPAD Artist: Holly Veselka
Artwork Commission: Austin Bergstrom International Airport Parking Garage Local Opportunity
Commissioned Artist: Studio MODO, Austin, TX
Project Status: Artwork design is approved and artist is in fabrication. Installation of artwork will occur Summer 2021.
I applied for the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places LaunchPAD Public Art Duo because I wanted to expand my conceptual art practice into a public art practice. I was unsure about the complex nuances of producing large-scale projects, and LaunchPAD provided hands-on experience to lift that veil. Thus far, my experiences with LaunchPad have been inspirational, motivational, and informative.
I was thrilled to be selected to work with StudioMODO as they designed artwork for the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. The resulting artwork tentatively titled PLUME, a 20-foot tall, 3D-printed sculpture is inspired by flight data, contrails, and grackles. Clay Odom and Kory Bieg—the artists of StudioMODO—make architectural work that unites technological innovation with organic form. Tying tech to nature is central to my artistic practice, and I feel fortunate that LaunchPAD is providing engagement in the public art process as well as mentorship in an area so specific to my own creative work.
The design of public art is always a back and forth process. I entered the project just before the design’s mid-review and joined StudioMODO in conducting a public outreach survey at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. We visited baggage claim and asked members of the public about their aesthetic preferences using a survey app. As design continued, the intricacies of this project became much more clear to me. Technical limitations, material specifications, as well as engineering, accessibility, conservation, and maintenance issues required extensive research, prototype development, meetings, and redesigns. PLUME is now moving into the fabrication phase. I’m looking forward to watching robot arms print the monumental ABS core of PLUME. We will then use 3D-scanning technology to create a revised model of the 3D-print.
As a LaunchPAD artist, I developed a better understanding of design decisions concerning scale, material, and fabrication technologies. I applied this knowledge to my own public art practice, engaging in research and design, and developing prototypes. I made a series of aspirational designs for public artworks, and I’m using these designs to apply for RFPs.
I discovered that flexibility and innovation are essential in the creation of public art. PLUME’s design process taught me to not restrict my designs to perceived limitations of material and engineering. Seeing StudioMODO collaborate with so many talented people to innovate and make their vision possible, I realized that there are many ways to solve a problem and persistence is key to ambitious projects.
- LaunchPAD Artist: Christine Angelone
Artwork Commission: Green Water Treatment Plant Project
Commissioned Artist: New American Public Art (NAPA), Boston, MA
Project Status: Artwork is installed and the project is wrapping up! An artwork dedication is being planned to coincide with the Proper Austin Hotel's grand opening.
Inside Look: Click here to read about Christine Angelone’s final LaunchPAD experiences.
Click here to read about Christine's LaunchPAD program experiences.
- LaunchPAD Artist: Teruko Nimura
Artwork Commission: Austin Energy District Cooling Plant #3 Project
Commissioned Artist: Beili Liu, Austin, TX
Project Status: Teruko supported artist Beili Liu through the design review process including Registered Accessibility Specialist review and Art Conservation review. Beili’s artwork is now in fabrication and Teruko wrapped up her contract commitments before moving closer to family. She will be in attendance for the unveiling of the artwork in 2020!
Inside Look: Click here to read about Teruko Nimura’s final LaunchPAD experiences.
Click here to read about Teruko Nimura’s LaunchPAD program experiences
- LaunchPAD Artist: Lisa Woods
Artwork Commission: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Parking Garage and Administration Building Project
Commissioned Artist: Marc Fornes/THEVERYMANY, Brooklyn, NY
Project Status: Lisa was selected and visited THEVERYMANY studio in Brooklyn, NY. She was greeted by the artist and staff and gave a brief presentation introducing her work! The sponsor project is nearly complete, so the artist team is working quickly. Artwork is in fabrication and will install in 2020.
Inside Look: Click here to read about Lisa's LaunchPAD program experiences.
- LaunchPAD Artist: Steve Parker
Artwork Commission: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Terminal Expansion Project (Phase I)
Commissioned Artist: Janet Zweig, Brooklyn, NY
Project Status: Lead artist Janet Zweig is currently under contract to fabricate her sculpture which will be installed in 2020. Steve Parker was selected and is currently familiarizing himself with the artist and project. The expansion of the terminal is now open and the artwork will be sited in the new terminal’s interior.
Inside Look: Click here to read about Steve's LaunchPAD program experiences.