Call for Artists: 2-D Portable Artworks, Public Purchase Opp. (due 10/25/23)

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Call for 2-D Portable Artworks – Public Art Purchase Opportunity!

Opportunity Overview

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) and the City of Portland invites artists who currently reside in Greater Portland Metropolitan Area to submit 2-D artworks for purchase, to be added into the Portable Works Public Art Collection.

The budget available for purchasing artworks totals approximately $50,000.  We will purchase individual artworks valued $200-$5000. This budget comes from the City of Portland.

Artworks may relate to and celebrate the people and places of Portland, inspired by the four new geographic districts. These new districts have been established to better include the diversity of community voices within City governance.  An independent panel of artists, arts workers, community members and City employees will select the artwork to be purchased. To learn about these new districts, and how to apply for this art purchase opportunity, be sure to read the following guidelines and tune into our info sessions—details are listed below.

Please submit your application by Wednesday, October 25th, 2023 by 11:59pm (Due Date Extended!) through the Opportunity Portal:

An Info Session for Artists about the opportunity was held on September 19th via Zoom. Watch the recording here.

Important Dates

  • September 19th, 2023 – Info Session on Zoom Watch the recording here.
  • October 25th, 2023 – Applications Due (Due Date Extended!)
  • Mid-December, 2023 – Artists notified if artwork is selected.

About our Public Art Collection

RACC is purchasing finished 2-D artwork for the Public Art Collection. Works purchased will enter the Portable Works Collection or the Visual Chronicle of Portland Collection.

The Portable Works Collection consists of more than 1,600 artworks that rotate through a variety of publicly accessible City and County buildings. The Visual Chronicle began in 1985 and consists of more than 400 works on paper that focus on artists’ views of the city’s social and urban landscapes, with the intent to record the evolutions of Portland over time. These works are exhibited throughout City buildings. To view the entire Public Art Collection, please visit our online search.

Theme: Taking Inspiration from Portland’s New City Map

Through extensive community input, the City of Portland’s Independent District Commission has developed a new map of Portland that is comprised of four districts, following state and federal districting laws. These districts contain communities of shared cultural backgrounds and common interests. Essentially, these districts have been defined in an effort to promote strong collaboration and community engagement for the city’s future. Including neighborhood voices within the city governance helps ensure every community’s needs are met.

The artwork submitted for this opportunity may celebrate or take inspiration from the people and places of Portland, by connecting to one or more of Portland’s four new geographic districts. Artwork may convey or reference personal, social, historical, political, or natural phenomena that relates to any nook and cranny within Portland’s neighborhoods. The work may also relate to broader ideas of borders, maps, place, community, and similar topics. Note: we understand that themes can be limiting for artists and will consider artwork, whether it abstractly or directly relates to any of these ideas.


Peninsula Park (on N. Ainsworth and N. Albina in District 2) features a turn of the century European-inspired rose garden that is not only encircled with blooming roses, but in recent years has become a site of gatherings, activations, vigils and protests. This site is treasured by many as a place of healing and transformation. Artwork may be inspired by experiences at the park, features in the park, or activities within.

The Portland Mercado is a hub within Portland (on SE Foster and SE 73rd Street in District 3) for Latinx culture with multiple small businesses including numerous food carts, grocery shopping, and gathering spaces. Artwork inspired by this site may convey food, care, celebration, gathering, and vibrant colors.

Other examples of areas in Portland that may inspire or relate to artworks include:

    • Powell Butte Nature Park in District 1
    • Kenton in District 2
    • Mount Tabor in District 3
    • Old Town Chinatown in District 4

Further reading about the new districts:


The goal of RACC art purchases is to ensure that the art in the public realm adequately represents the many communities that make up our region. The Public Art Collection is a rotating collection that is displayed in accessible municipal spaces and can be experienced free of charge. Installations of public artworks can be found within conference rooms, hallways, elevator lobbies, office spaces, and more.

RACC is dedicated to continuing to expand the range of artistic and cultural expression represented in the Public Art Collection to rethink how our models of artist support can be most responsive to the changing needs of the surrounding communities.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria

Artists currently living in the Greater Portland Metropolitan Area are eligible for this opportunity.

Submitted artworks must relate (abstractly or specifically) to the themes associated with the four new geographical districts of Portland.

We strongly encourage artists in under-represented communities to apply for this opportunity, including artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and people of color; LGBTQIA+; and artists with disabilities.

The types of original artwork that qualify for this opportunity are works on paper, paintings, photographs, drawings, textiles, collage, Bas relief, mosaic, glass, ceramic, metal, prints and other original media intended to be hung on a wall with a 4” depth maximum.

Artists, please specify clearly if the submitted artwork is part of a series of works, and if the series needs to be purchased together as a whole, or if individual works in the series can be purchased.

Artworks with electrical components are not eligible for purchase at this time.

Size: 2-D artwork that fit the following dimensions will be prioritized; however, we will consider larger work:

30”W X 40”H X 4”D or smaller (76cmW X 102cmH X 10cmD or smaller)

RACC and the City of Portland will ultimately determine whether work will enter the broader 2-D collection entitled the Portable Works Collection, or the Visual Chronicle Collection of Portland.

Framing: Please submit finished, unframed artworks, unless the framing is an integral part of the concept of the artwork (please state that in the “Conceptual information” field in the application for that submitted piece). RACC reserves the right to reframe purchased artwork if a submitted frame does not meet the collection standards. Consider the potential for your submission to be framed behind glass or acrylic, to ensure its longevity within the public realm.

All submitted original artwork must be completely finished, dry, sprayed (if art media could smear), and work must be in suitable condition for framing or public presentation. Please do not submit artworks with conservation issues such as rips, tears, peeling, flaking, and/or water damage. RACC reserves the right to return any artwork that does not meet the collection standards.

The panel reserves the right to purchase work by an artist who does not directly apply to this call, if appropriate.

How to Apply

All application materials must be submitted through the RACC Opportunity Portal, an online application system. Applicants will need to create an account, or log into their existing account at

For first-time users of the portal, view a brief video learning how to register here.

Application Requirements

  • Statement of Interest: Provide a brief description about the artworks submitted and your overall art practice and how your work relates to and celebrates the people and places of Portland, inspired by the four new geographic districts.
    • There are two options in submitting these responses:
      • Written Statement: 2500 characters or less
      • Oral Statement: Upload a video/voice recording no longer than 2 minutes. Please note this is not expected to be a highly produced/edited recording, a short recording that responds to the questions is enough. The intent of this option is to provide an opportunity for individuals who feel they can better represent themselves through an alternative medium to writing. Some examples include applicants for whom English is a second language, those who identify as neurodivergent, people living with disability and/or other accessibility considerations.
  • Up to 6 images of past work: You can submit up to 6 artworks and provide up to two images per artwork. Images should be jpegs no larger than 5 megabytes each. For each artwork, provide the title, media, dimensions, year completed, and purchase price. Conceptual information is optional.
    • (Note: If you are submitting a series that consists of more than six images, please include images that best represent the series and provide additional information regarding the series in the conceptual information field.)
    • Please only submit original prints and artworks, and not reproductions of artworks.
    • You have the option to upload a video file of the artwork instead of a jpeg.
  • *OptionalResume/CV: Upload a PDF no more than two pages long that outlines artistic activities and /or professional accomplishments.

Once you have started your application, you can save after each step and sign out—your application will be saved as a draft that you can continue to work on as needed. Once you hit “Submit,” your application is final. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions during the process.

Due date: Wednesday, October 25th, 2023. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. PST

If you don’t have a computer or online access, please don’t hesitate to contact RACC for assistance.

Selection Process

Note: A panel of artists, curators, community members, and City representatives will select artwork for purchase. In the first round, digital images and their descriptions will be submitted and reviewed by the panel. In the second round, high scoring work will be reviewed in further detail in-person. Artists will be required to drop off or ship their work to RACC in advance of this in-person review. Details will be provided to artists.