General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Inc.
and Fisk University

Request for Proposals (RFP)

Sesquicentennial Art Commission


The General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Incorporated (GAAFU), in partnership with Fisk University, is soliciting proposals from qualified artists for the creation of an original work of art in honor of Fisk University’s Sesquicentennial. Fisk University was founded in 1866, and will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2016.
The General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Inc. (GAAFU) is a 501 (c) 3 organization that was incorporated in Nashville, Tennessee in 1985. The sole mission of the GAAFU is to support Fisk University, specifically in the areas of student recruitment and fundraising. A Board of Directors oversees the operations and conducts the business of the GAAFU, and meets four times a year.


The goal is to commission a significant, museum caliber original work of art that is two or three-dimensional, and of the highest aesthetic quality. The work will commemorate the Sesquicentennial of Historic Fisk University and embody the University’s enduring spirit. The work must be made of durable materials suitable for display within the interior of a museum.


Eligibility is open to professional, practicing artists working in painting, drawing, photography, collage and/or other two or three dimensional media. All applicants must reside in the United States. For galleries submitting an application on behalf of an artist, the artist must reside in the United States. Entries not in compliance with the eligibility guidelines will not be considered.


The General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Incorporated, in collaboration with Fisk University, invites artists working in all media to submit one (1) original work commemorating the Sesquicentennial of Historic Fisk University in 2016 to be considered for a commission. The winning work and all rights to the work will be purchased for the purpose of reproduction of a limited edition of high quality prints that will be made available to the general public through GAAFU. The winning artwork will be entered into Fisk’s highly acclaimed permanent collection and displayed in the university’s gallery or at some other designated site on the campus.

• Two-dimensional works should be no larger than 5’(H) x 8’ (W) unframed.

• Three-dimensional works should not exceed 3 feet in height without a base and 4 feet in diameter.

• The winning work will be purchased and accessioned into Fisk University’s permanent collection.

• The winning work will be reproduced in a museum quality, limited edition print produced for sale to the general public.

• The GAAFU will acquire and transfer all reproduction rights for the winning work to Fisk University

The Artist(s) must provide a central point of contact to ensure coordination of the contract. The Artist(s) awarded the contract will be required to provide the following services:

• Complete an original work of art within the required time frame.

• Be available for press interviews.

GAAFU’s Board of Directors anticipates that the creation of the work of art is a one-time planning and product development initiative.


Friday, August 15, 2014


Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time.


Applications are available online at Please print and complete the application. Send the completed application along with 10 digital images of your art work. Projects must be submitted as PDF files loaded onto a portable flash drive and sent to the address below:

Fisk Sesquicentennial Art Commission
c/o Victor Simmons, Curator
Fisk University Galleries
1000 17th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37208

Please note that Victor Simmons will be available to answer questions about this request for proposals until the deadline date, September 15, 2014, 5 p.m. (CDT).Applications and images sent via email will not be considered

Application materials must include:

• Resume - 10,000 characters maximum
If you are applying as a team, please include your team/ studio resume. If that is not available, please combine the individual resumes (one right after the other) of each team member into one document.

• Letter of interest - 5,000 characters maximum

• 10 images of your work in the following formats: jpg, png, and gif files will be accepted. Images should be at least 100 dpi and no larger than 1500 x 1500 pixels.

• Please include the title, medium, dimensions, and year for your entry.

• You may also include a brief statement about your work (No more than one page).

There is no application fee to apply. To view the application, go to


Direct questions related to this RFP to Victor Simmons, Curator, Fisk University Art Galleries, and submit such questions in writing via email. Send all to:


The winning entrant will be awarded $35,000.


A broad range of imagery from figurative, representational, abstract, to non-objective will be considered. Imagery embodying the spirit and history of Fisk University, its educational and communal mission, will be given the highest consideration. Images considered incompatible with the spirit and purpose of the commission will not be considered.


Artist Selection Panel: This panel will be made up of representatives from Fisk University. The panel will review the works submitted and narrow the applicants to three (3) artists to be considered for the project. The three (3) projects and qualifications of the finalists will be reviewed and the winning applicant will be chosen by the Artist Selection Panel from this group and recommended to GAAFU’s Board of Directors for approval.
The Selection Panel will use the following criteria to evaluate the submissions:

• Application is complete and submitted prior to the application deadline.

• The submitted application represents the artist’s own original creative work.

• The artist’s work is judged to be appropriate for the goals and spirit of the project and is judged to strengthen Fisk’s collection as a whole.

• The artist’s work reflects artistic excellence, innovation and originality as evidenced by professional quality of craftsmanship and mastery of skills and techniques; professional approaches to processes and presentation; and/or communicates a unique vision or perspective.

PLEASE NOTE: Artist Teams must submit one (1) application and are limited to a total of ten (10) images of their work.


RFP IssuedAugust 15, 2014
RFP DeadlineSeptember 30, 2014
Selection Panel MeetsOctober 6, 2014
GAAFU Executive Committee Approves Work/FinalistOctober 13, 2014
Artist under ContractNovember 1, 2014
Printer under ContractDecember 1, 2014
Art Work CompletedJanuary 2, 2016
Commission Unveiled to PublicApril 30, 2016

Rights Reserved by the GAAFU

The Board of Directors of the General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Incorporated reserves the right not to accept any applications, not to accept any artist recommended by the selection panel, to initiate an alternative Selection Process, and/or to reissue the RFP for additional artist candidates.
The General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Incorporated retains the intellectual property rights for the art work for purposes of reproduction; the General Alumni Association may transfer those rights in the future but will retain those rights until a date to be determined.

Application for Art Commission

Art Commission - Application