It’s a tall order for an artist: create a design for a long-lasting work of public art — a new icon for the city of New Orleans — that will be reproduced in various sizes and placed at 17 key points around town so people who need help evacuating will know where to gather in advance of a threatening hurricane.
How many artists are interested in the challenge will soon be known. A request for artists to apply went out in October and the applications are due by Nov. 28. It’s a project of the city and two nonprofit groups: Evacuteer.org, which helps people who don’t have their own transportation learn about and get access to ways out of town when a hurricane evacuation is called; and The Arts Council of Greater New Orleans, which will receive the applications.
“The $200,000 budget will be all inclusive of design, fabrication, and installation,” Morgana King, the director of public art for the council, said in an email.
King said more than half the money has been raised.
What the final design will look like is far from clear. The request for qualifications won’t necessarily shed much light. It seeks a resume and a letter of interest in which the artist will discuss his or her interest in the project and detail relevant experience. While it seeks images of works the interested artists have done before that would be relevant, it does not seek sketches or models for the evacuation project.
Whatever shape they take, the installations are meant to be an eye-catching and permanent part of the landscape, something people will remember in an emergency. They are aimed at frequent walkers and users of public transportation, people who may be more likely than others to need the city’s assistance in leaving town.
Receipt of the applications will set off events that, if the current timeline is met, will result in the final design being chosen in March, the start of installations by the June 1 start of hurricane season and completion by September, when the season is usually at its peak.