Open Call: Percent for Art for Woodhaven Select Bus Service

Approved on: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 12:28pm
Application contact:
Friday, February 17, 2017


As part of the Woodhaven Select Bus Service (“Woodhaven SBS”) street improvement project, the NYC Department of Transportation’s Art Program (“DOT Art”) is collaborating with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program (“Percent for Art”) to commission up to two (2) artists to design unique fence panels for installation at six (6) median bus station pairs, twelve (12) bus stations in total, along Woodhaven Boulevard.  Woodhaven SBS spans the entire 14-mile Q52/53 Limited bus route located along Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, from Woodside to the Rockaways in the borough of Queens. This existing bus route acts as the primary north-south transit corridor in Queens and carries over 30,000 daily bus riders who are not otherwise well-served by the city’s rapid transit network.

Select Bus Service (“SBS”) is New York City's version of Bus Rapid Transit, which offers fast, frequent, and reliable service on high-ridership bus routes. SBS routes are implemented in significantly less time and at a much lower cost than subways. Providing rail-like service, SBS uses techniques and technologies such as dedicated bus lanes, off board fare collection and transit signal priority to improve performance. SBS makes buses easier to use through features like bus bulbs and real-time passenger information with overall attention to pedestrian and vehicular safety.

The Woodhaven SBS route will be New York City’s most ambitious SBS route to date, because of its focus on building median bus stations. Unlike typical SBS curbside bus stops, the Woodhaven SBS median bus stations will include access points to high-quality waiting space similar to surface subway stations. These median bus stations will provide bus riders with ample space and comfortable amenities such as variable passenger-information screens, leaning bars and shelters with seating, lighting, and weather protection. Another unique feature of the Woodhaven SBS median stations will include attractive, protective fencing drawn from this competition.  


This improvement project addresses a 1.3-mile section of the Woodhaven SBS corridor along Woodhaven Boulevard between Park Lane South and Rockaway Boulevard where the median bus stations will be implemented along existing service roads (together the “Sites”). The neighborhoods in this section, through which SBS will run, are mostly residential with small-scale retail corridors in close proximity to the median stations. Of the six median bus station pairs, two will only be served by local buses (no SBS features), and the remaining four will be served by both SBS and local buses.

While the exact configuration of each median bus station may vary, each will include a package of features that will enhance the user experience while waiting for the bus on the widened medians. The widened concrete medians allow space for improved bus amenities. DOT has installed similar median fencing across New York City using two standard fencing designs. This competition calls for improving the standard fencing for functional and artistic display along the median bus stations rendered in the proposed SBS station designs. 


DOT Art and Percent for Art (the “City”) invite artists and/or designers to submit entries in response to this competition. The City is interested in transforming fences adjacent to SBS Stations from static functional objects into dynamic works of art. These distinctive fences will provide the public with an unexpected visual experience during their daily commute and ultimately, will create attractive corridors and activate public space through permanent, aesthetic enhancements.

The City is seeking design concepts that:

·         Reflect the surrounding culture, community and neighborhoods;

·         Create a recognizable identity for the different station stops along the SBS corridor to provide riders with visual cues of their given destinations;

·         Improve the overall look and feel of a standard SBS station by elevating the quality of design through the artwork; and

·         Convey a sense of safety as the fence separates riders from active traffic.


This competition is organized in two phases. Phase One is a Request for Qualifications in which artists and/or designers may respond with samples of past work and supplementary materials. The City, in partnership with a committee of outside arts and design professionals (the “Committee”), will select up to ten (10) artists (the “Finalists”) to proceed in the competition. Phase Two is a Request for Proposals in which Finalists will submit a conceptual design for final review by the Committee. Up to two (2) artists will be selected to finalize designs for implementation at the Sites as part of Woodhaven SBS.

Finalists will receive a $500 honorarium for completion of a conceptual design in response to the Request for Proposals. The two selected artists (the “Artists”) from Phase Two will each receive $200,000 to finalize designs, fabricate the panels and oversee installation in partnership with the City. However, NYCDOT will fabricate and install the standard fence framework and install the fabricated art panels at no cost to the Artists. 


The City invites artists and/or designers to submit examples of past work to review in consideration for Woodhaven SBS. An artist’s prior experience or lack thereof with public art or with durable material such as steel, and other metals will not be taken into consideration when reviewing images. Eligibility is based upon artistic merit as evidenced in previous work.


Artists must submit all of the following for consideration:

·         No more than ten (10) photographs of past artwork and associated image list that includes: title, date of completion, medium, dimensions, location, sale price or commission budget, description of artwork and list of partners);
·         Artist curriculum vitae; and
·         Brief artist statement of no more than one page.
All artists interested in being considered must apply through the online program at:

Submissions will only be accepted using this online application program.

Submissions must be completed by midnight on February 17th, 2017.


NYCDOT is eager to implement the distinctive fence along the Woodhaven SBS corridor in fall 2017. All Artists submitting to this open call must be available during 2017 to attend meetings in New York City in partnership with DOT Art and Percent for Art.


 Please direct all inquiries regarding this open call to

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