Portland, Maine

Yes. Life's Good Here

Mobile Navigation

Open Call - Creative Bus Shelters


Portland Creative Bus Shelter Initiative


Deadline: December 15, 2019 - 11:59pm


(you will be redirected to a Google Form)



To support a creative placemaking initiative to design artistic bus shelters celebrating the City of Portland, Maine’s racially diverse communities, including immigrant and refugee populations. The project will strengthen communities by engaging local artists and arts administrators, in partnership with transit providers, and in collaboration with the Office of Economic Opportunity and the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, for positive social impact and systems change. The goal is to encourage multi- modal transportation, to increase ridership, and to promote awareness and social acceptance through art installations that utilize bus shelters as the canvas for public art on the theme of celebrating diversity and inclusion.


Creative Portland invites Greater Portland artists to submit proposals for the Portland Creative Bus Shelter Initiative. Funded partially by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town Creative Placemaking grants program, matched by corporate sponsors and project partners Greater Portland METRO, GPCOG and Waterstone Properties, who also sit on the curatorial team for Phase 1 that will fund four (4) separate bus shelters with add-on designs to existing code-compliant shelters. Pamela Moulton, project coordinator, will supervise installation of the jury’s chosen designs.




Local artists in Greater Portland will be selected based on a high bar of excellence and craftsmanship to create innovative and imaginative designs that inspire memorable experiences. 
Applicant(s) must be 18 or older and live and/or work in Greater Portland, from Biddeford to Brunswick.
Groups can apply, with one designated lead artist.
Artists should demonstrate a proven capacity to execute the proposed work. Prior experience with public installation work is strongly preferred but not required if the applicant can make a case for a successful outcome. 
Creative Portland encourages inclusivie participation and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), sex, gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in the selection of artists for this project or in any of its activities or operations.


Original designs for add-on art on four Portland-area bus shelters. This is Phase 1 of a broader regional aspiration. 
Bus shelter dimensions are available here and include rooftop panel, large back panel, two side panels, and a partial front panel. 
Artists may use durable all-weather products including but not limited to paint, wood, steel, glass, rope, terra cotta, plexiglass, plastic, paper composites (sealed), and other code compliant materials to create 2D or 3D designs on shelter panels and/or constructed add-ons. Designs must not prohibit the functionality or ADA accessibility of the shelter and will require minimum maintenance. 
Final projects must follow the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)’s’ regulations for historical preservation and environmental protection. Selected artists will work with the program manager and project director to make sure final outcomes are in line with these regulations. 


Four locations in Greater Portland. Site selection has not been finalized and may depend upon the proposals selected for implementation. 


To encourage multi-modal transportation, to increase METRO ridership, to attract and build community through arts messaging, and to promote awareness and social acceptance through art installations that utilize bus shelters as the canvas for public art on the theme of celebrating diversity and inclusion, all by showcasing and celebrating Portland's local artistic talent. 
This project initiative is made possible by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and is Phase 1 of a broader aspiration to create a region of artistically-excellent bus shelters and to instill a sense of pride in our neighborhoods through public arts messaging. 


Deadline for submissions December 15.
Notifications for acceptance March 1. 
Applications will be reviewed in January 2020 by a jury of partners representing Creative Portland, METRO (Greater Portland Transit District), and Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG), as well as artists, curators and community stakeholders, and will be selected based on creativity, efficient, cost-effective maintenance, durability and minimal upkeep requirements. 


Artist(s) will be considered based on:
  • An interest in public arts messaging under the theme of celebrating our City’s diversity 
  • A practice of inclusive community bonding & cultural acceptance
  • Demonstration of quality work & artistic excellence
  • Previous art installation experience
  • An ability to create renderings or drawings of a notable and impactful creative design
  • Precision designs for add-on installations of Metro’s bus shelters
  • Experience using exterior weather-resistant materials for large scale public art
  • Proven experience in time management and delivering on budget
Projects will be selected based on artistic excellence of the proposed designs within the budget, experience in public art installations, use of weather-resistant materials for longevity, and an inclusive message of belonging and acceptance in a racially, socially, and economically diverse city that honors artistic talent and pays tribute to cultural distinctions.


Bus shelter locations to be determined following artist selection.


The curatorial team responsible for choosing the artists will include representatives from higher education institutions, arts organizations, and corporate sponsors, who also have a connection to understanding and working with under-served populations and diverse communities.
Decisions will be made by March 1. Installations will be scheduled through June 2021. 


Approximate budget for each bus shelter “add-on” is $10,000 and includes design and artist rendering, materials, and installation fees.
Artists are encouraged to keep their proposals at or below this figure. 


REQUIRED MATERIALS: Proposals must include the following materials:
  • Attached application cover sheet (see below)
  • Written proposal, including:
  • Written description of concept
  • Drawings/renderings 
  • Installation plan
  • Maintenance plan
  • Budget
  • CV/Resume
  • Artistic samples (ex: images/links to past work, etc)
All applications must be submitted via Google Form. Deadline for designs is December 15.



You will receive an email acknowledgement of your submission, which may also be kept on file for future project consideration.
Decisions will be made by March 1. Installations will be scheduled through June 2021. 
For further questions, call 207-370-4784 or email submissions@creativeportland.com
Creative Portland’s mission is to support the creative economy through the arts by providing essential resources, by fostering partnerships, and by promoting Portland's artistic talents and cultural assets. As the official nonprofit arts agency, we support economic development efforts by strengthening and stimulating our workforce, creative industries, and enterprises. 
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.