So You Want To Paint On Walls Like Shepard Fairey? The City Has A Wall And $50K For You.

Back when Shepard Fairey was in town, and we interviewed him, there was some chatter in the comments about the value of bringing in an out-of-towner to create murals in West Dallas when there are artists living in Dallas and the surrounding environs who would be more than happy for the commission. Well, local artists, here’s your opportunity: the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs is looking for a muralist to let loose on the concrete retaining walls at the Jefferson Street Viaduct in Oak Cliff. And here’s the juicy part: the budget is a nifty $50,000.

But hold your horses taggers, street artists, and other local paint-wielding nardowells. Per usual with OCA, which knows how to put the “administration” back in “art,” there are some strings attached. Mural proposals must “celebrate themes that relate to the community of Oak Cliff, taking inspiration from the people, history, landmarks, and overall creative spirit of this vibrant Dallas neighborhood.” Hopefully that won’t translate into Stevie Ray Vaughn’s mug emblazoned on concrete or some smiling children dancing and holding hands on a historic trolley. Okay, okay. I’ll quit the snark. But seriously, let’s get some solid proposals for this wall project. And, while we’re talking street art, let’s  take the opportunity to link to Brazil’s street art program, which decriminalized street art and allows artists to do as they please on public walls as long as they have property owners permission.

Here’s the release:


Oak Cliff Mural Project Project  
Budget: $50,000
Deadline for Applications: April 20, 2012

The Public Art Program of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs requests the submission of qualifications from professional artists and/or artist teams to work with the City of Dallas and the community to create a large-scale mural for the concrete retaining walls at the Jefferson Street Viaduct in Oak Cliff.

The project consists of 4 retaining walls and 2 end cap walls that can be viewed when entering and exiting the Jefferson Boulevard Viaduct (Note: the walls are visible from Jefferson Blvd. and Marsalis Ave). These highly visible walls mark a gateway into the Oak Cliff community in Dallas.

The murals should celebrate themes that relate to the community of Oak Cliff, taking inspiration from the people, history, landmarks, and overall creative spirit of this vibrant Dallas neighborhood.

The City seeks a qualified lead artist to execute this project. The selected artist will be responsible for the following:

▪ Lead and manage the commission, serving as the main project consultant / artist

▪ Provide artistic oversight by creating the concept and themes

▪ Identify and supervise a team of artists and/or apprentices to execute the mural

▪ Submit the concept and themes for review and approval through the appropriate City of Dallas process

▪ Purchase all required materials for mural execution

▪ Obtain appropriate permits and insurance as required by the City of Dallas

▪ Serve as liaison with the community to gather community input / feedback on the mural project

Recognizing the creative community of Oak Cliff, the City is particularly interested in artists/artists teams who have a connection to the Oak Cliff community.

The total budget for the project is $50,000 (all inclusive of artists’ fees, materials, labor, insurance, permits, etc.)


A panel comprised of arts professionals and community representatives will review qualified submissions in May 2012. One finalist will be selected for the project and requested to provide a site specific concept. The selected artist will then enter into a contract with the City of Dallas for the execution of the project.

ELIGIBILITY All professional artists are eligible to apply, except for artists currently under contract with the City of Dallas Public Art Program, employees of the City of Dallas, their spouses, members of the Public Art Committee, or any consultants under contract for any phase of this project. The City of Dallas Cultural Policy prohibits undergraduate students from being considered for Public Art projects.


A cover letter detailing the following: Brief summary indicating the lead artist’s expertise in mural projects. Description of how the lead artist will involve Oak Cliff artists / community in the projectInterest and ability to complete the project.

Preliminary Budget including lead artist’s project fee, fees paid to team members, materials costs, insurance, etc. Professional resume of the lead artist (if available, also include resumes or bios of other team members)

Six JPEG images, not to exceed 2MB for all six images, of previous mural projects of commensurate scope.

Images imbedded into PDFs will not be accepted. Images may be emailed or for files larger than 2MB total, send via Dropbox or YouSendIt.Names and contact information of three references.


Send email Submissions to: [email protected]


Send CD Submissions to:

Kendall Ferguson, Public Art Coordinator
Office of Cultural Affairs
City of Dallas
1925 Elm Street
Dallas, Texas 75201

For questions contact Kendall Ferguson

214.670.5639 or email [email protected]




Application for any project advertised by the City of Dallas Public Art Program constitutes acceptance of the terms and conditions outlined in this prospectus as well as recognition of ordinances and policies of the City of Dallas (including the Good Faith Effort and the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise goals of the City Dallas).



  • Too bad the 50 k is for an artist to play project manager for a bunch of other artists instead of taking 50k and making one big nice piece.

  • Kady Cannon

    I am an artist that would be very intersted and willing to be a part of the “team” excuting the choosen head artist’s work. Those who are applying please consider me for your staff. Contact at [email protected].

  • @Ricardo: Well, reading it, the “project consultant/ artist” (love the word order) can create the one big piece, and get some minions to participate in the execution. But you are right, the $50K will also go to insurance, materials, permits, and the rest. The city always has to recapture some of the money it gives out, after all. I never understood why with these kinds of projects, as well as neighborhood grants, etc., the city just doesn’t give out less money and waive fees. But then, I’ve never asked.

  • I will make this happen!!!

  • I’m applying! If not chosen… I will help out any way possible for more!

  • I need to hire team just to get through this proposal. Way too difficult. I usually don’t like to whine and complain, but why do they want us to make historical references, are’nt there already enough of those on the roads in the form of buildings, landmarks, etc etc. omg. Why? Why can’t they just open their pee brained sized minds and let the artists do whatever the hell they envision? I mean, thats what Shepard did. Why can’t we damnit? Maybe im being too negative again, but damn, does the whole city need to have elementary looking art all over the place? city of dallas cultural affairs department needs to all be fired. Every last one of them. Re. Vamp.

  • scorn

    Shepard’s murals were privately funded, public money is subject to death by committee.
    Question is how do we alter the committee structure? The same way focus groups bring movies down to the lowest common denominator, committees do the same for the challenging possibilities of art in public spaces. By trying to please everyone, and talking down to them, we wind up pleasing no one.

  • Yo quiero feria si ba a ver