Call to Artists

The Town of Banff, through the Community Art Committee, is pleased to invite Canadian artists to put forth proposals for a high-impact public art project in a newly re-envisioned public space in downtown Banff.

Two locations for permanent outdoor public art have been identified along Bear street which is being transformed into a shared street, where pedestrians, cyclists and low-speed motorists share space in an integrated way. The design fosters active and sustainable modes of transportation while enhancing the vibrancy of the area. 

Proposals are being accepted for 3D artwork for one or both of the proposed locations. 

The work must be of appropriate scale and proportion to the size of the setting, and must not block or reduce the visibility of business signs or traffic control devices. As a permanent, outdoor piece in a heavily trafficked area, the piece must designed with durability and public interaction in mind.

Set in the majestic Rocky Mountains of Banff National Park, the Town of Banff is one of only two incorporated municipalities in Canada located in a national park. Banff is known worldwide for its spectacular setting within a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Canada’s first, and most heavily visited, national park. The Bow Valley has been a place of gathering for thousands of years as, among other things, a point of travel between the foothills and the mountains west of the Canadian Rockies, as a place of ceremony and celebration, and as a place of leisure and exploration. As the home of Canada's first National Park, its mandate is to preserve the natural wonders of the area for the use of all Canadians and the visitors who travel here. Banff National Park is located in Treaty 7 territory on traditional lands used by local Indigenous peoples, including the Ktunaxa (Kootenay), Secwempemc (Shuswap), Tsuu T’ina (Sarcee), Kainai (Blood), Piikani (Peigan), Siksika (Blackfoot), Nakoda (Stoney), and Nehiyawak (Cree). 

This call is open to all professional emerging, mid-career, or established Canadian artists possessing a demonstrated capacity for working effectively on public art projects and adhering to project timelines and budgets. The call is open to Canadian citizens and Canadian residents. Applicants from all backgrounds, identities and geographical locations across Canada are encouraged to apply. 

The artwork sites are depicted below. Bear Street is within a block from Banff Avenue, and with its transition to a shared street will see increased local and visitor foot traffic as well as public events.

The central Bear Street location (Figure 2) is adjacent to one of the central gathering spaces of Bear Street - complete with fire pit and seating. Artwork in this location will draw pedestrians down Bear Street, and invite pedestrians from the alleyway connection to Bear Street. A roughly 3m x 3m subsurface area is available for artwork anchoring here. The site depicted in Figure 3 sits at the intersection of Bear and Wolf Street – a central, and terminating view of Bear Street. This location is flanked by two stone landscape planters, and offers a large subsurface area that allows flexibility for placement and anchoring. Proposals will be accepted for any one or combination of the sites depicted. The materials should be appropriate for an outdoor setting in the Canadian Rockies and the piece designed to stand for many years (20+).

The successful applicant will be adjudicated on work that explores, complements, expands upon, and/or challenges the theme of "Gathering and Togetherness" in the many contexts in which Banff exists (historical, political, temporal, physical etc.). Interpretation can be from any perspective the artist sees fit and in whatever form they choose. The artwork should complement the vision for a redeveloped Bear street as a locus of community and visitor togetherness in a public space which fosters gathering in new and creative ways. Stylistically the call is open to interpretation, but artists should take into consideration the nature of the public space that the work(s) will be installed in, and the space itself as a place of gathering.

The total commission award for this public art project is $85,000 CAD (all inclusive). This fee must cover all costs (including GST) associated with the creation and installation of the piece, including but not limited to artist fees; artist travel and accommodation; artwork materials, fabrication, transportation, and installation; engineering or other consultant fees; and plaquing. Beyond the commission award budget of $85,000, a $10,000 budget exists for creation of a structural slab to support the piece. Costs for structural work above the $10,000 need to be accounted for through the commission award budget ($85,000). All proposals must contain a detailed budget that includes all costs associated with the piece(s).

Artists may submit one proposal for consideration. All required submission materials shall be sent electronically to and must include the following:

  1. Artist Contact Information: email address, daytime telephone number, and mailing  address;
  2. Artist Statement (Maximum of 200 words);
  3. Artist Curriculum Vitae;
  4. Project proposal that details the artwork, its materiality, and its relation to the project theme (Maximum 500 words);
  5. Image List: Images, renderings, sketches related to the proposal. Maximum of 100 words per image;
  6. Examples and description of previous relevant artworks;
  7. Detailed budget;
  8. Recommended maintenance schedule;
  9. Detailed project schedule for creation, fabrication, and installation of the piece(s);
  10. File Attachments: High resolution image(s) in jpg format. Filename(s) must contain ‘Artist Name’ and ‘Title of Artwork’. Example: Smith-Birth_of_Venus.jpg

The selection process will take place in two phases: 

Phase I: Application/Shortlist
The Banff Community Art Committee will meet and review initial applications, ensuring they meet the requirements of the Call to Artists. The Community Art Committee and invited community members will create a short list of semi-finalists by February 4. Applications will be assessed by the project goals and the following criteria:

  • Artistic merit, creativity, quality of proposed artwork

Semi-finalists may wish to submit more detailed digital renderings and supporting documents which should be provided to the Town of Banff by 4:00 p.m. on April 15.

Phase II: Shortlist Development Stage
The jury will meet and review full concept drafts with expanded statements from shortlisted applicants. Jury meeting(s) will take place between April 19 – April 30, 2021. Applications will be assessed by the project goals and the following criteria: 

  • Artistic merit, creativity, quality of the full concept draft
  • Demonstrated feasibility in terms of proposed budget, timeline, implementation, safety, maintenance etc.


August 28, 2020

Call to artists open.

January 6, 2021

Call to artists closes.

February 4, 2021

Successful shortlisted applicants notified.

April 15, 2021

Shortlist proposals with detailed renderings due.

May 10, 2021

Final successful applicant notified.

September 1, 2021

Deadline for piece(s) to be fabricated and installed.


Proposals must be submitted by 4 p.m. MDT on January 6, 2021. Proposals submitted after this time will not be accepted for consideration.

For more details on the Bear Street reconstruction visit the project website at

To start learning more on Indigenous history of Banff visit

For questions about the Call to Artists contact the Town of Banff Community Art Committee by email at

Call to Artists Figure 1
Call to Artists Figure 2
Call to Artists Figure 3