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Call to Artists: Deep Ellum Blues Alley Project

December 21, 2021 | Deep Ellum Team

The Deep Ellum Foundation is issuing a Call to Artists interested in participating in a community muraling project to bring to life Deep Ellum’s Blues Alley on Clover Street. Please review the following document, and if you are interested, apply via our online Blues Alley Artist Application form AND by providing 5 work samples via email to Taylor@DeepEllumTexas.com for our review process. Any questions or comments can be sent to: Taylor Adams, Marketing Manager, at Taylor@DeepEllumTexas.com.  

The Project

Deep Ellum’s “Blues Alley” is a cultural enrichment project that uses the medium of publicly viewable art to inspire and educate tourists and locals alike to the culture and rich heritage that the Deep Ellum Neighborhood possesses. A project of The Deep Ellum Foundation, Blues Alley Phase 2.75-3 will feature a series of murals stretching from Henry Street to Crowdus Street along Clover Street Alley in the historic neighborhood. Local artists will use their artistic skills to act as storytellers and transform the duality of historic structures and new construction into an entirely “Blues” Experience. 

Mural Series Concept Overview

The series of murals will focus on the history of blues and all music in the Deep Ellum neighborhood and reflect on the unique character of the talent that once was and still is existing and living here in Deep Ellum. The goal of the Blues Alley Project is to educate the public about Deep Ellum’s historical figures and incomparable creative culture in the most beautiful way possible. As this is a celebration of the musical arts in Deep Ellum, the concept is for each mural within the series to reflect the neighborhood either in content or in inspiration. As the series of murals must come together to embody one cohesive Blues experience, we ask that you consider two to three topics that reflect our theme to include in your submission. Please note that all artist submissions will go through curatorial review and may receive requests for alterations to ensure each individual piece best fits within the overarching project. While artists may submit a range of concepts from whimsical patterns to street scenes to portraiture, we do offer a list of important musicians which artists are strongly encouraged to consider featuring in their submissions (see MUSICIAN REFERENCE LIST below). If you need additional guidance on this, please contact us.

The final look of the Deep Ellum Blues Alley Project will feature artwork almost entirely done in hues of blue to create a total immersive experience.  Each artist is asked to create works that are entirely blue with an allowance of up to 15% of a bright and contrasting color for dramatic effect.  The hues of blue allowed are from Turquoise to the Indigo hues. Our mixed influence includes the city of Chefchaouen, Morocco, for a visual reference.  This is designed to be a tourist destination and cultural site for the district.

Specifications & Artistic Designs

Each artist rendered section of the project is intended to reflect the unique theme of the exhibit and creativity of the artist. The artist may paint with exterior grade paint to the surface awarded, be it brick, stucco, steel or any other exterior surface of the building (other than small signage required by The Department of Code Compliance for building operations).  There may be no modifications made to the structures and no attached objects or signage shall be added to the artwork surface, excepting signage placed by the owner of the property. All signage shall be protected from damage during painting.

Artist Eligibility

Eligible artists must be 19 years or older. Artists who reside in Dallas and have history in and/or knowledge of Deep Ellum are preferred. 

(Note, students under the age of 19 from surrounding schools will have an opportunity and be engaged to participate in Blues Alley through means outside this application process).

Guidelines

Please keep in mind that this mural gallery project is outside, in the elements, and being viewed and touched by the public. All artists must work with appropriate paint and finishes to ensure the longevity of the artwork on the surface. We require paint colors formulated for the exterior and outdoor situations to reduce peeling and sun fading over time.  

  • All surfaces will have a suitable primer provided by DEF and applied by the artist prior to beginning work.
  • Please be sensitive to the fact that these murals are fully accessible to a wide spectrum of people, including children; therefore, your design must be suitable for public display.
  • Designs that are religious, political, violent, or sexual in nature will not be accepted. Additionally, neither corporate logos nor advertising is allowed.
  • DEF and the Individual Property Owners will review all designs to ensure they conform to the intent of the Blues Alley Project and these guidelines. If a design materially changes from the original proposal, the changes must be resubmitted to DEF for review before the artist’s process can continue. DEF retains the right to remove a mural in its sole discretion based upon safety, legal or other concerns as may arise.

Artist Selection & Curatorial Process 

Artists will be selected through a multi-tier process beginning with application review by DEF’s Cultural Committee. The Cultural Committee is composed of local businesses owners, residents, property owners and experts within the fields of visual arts, historic preservation and community development. Using a standard criteria emphasizing quality, creativity and historic/cultural relevance with a preference for a diversity of local artists, the Cultural Committee members vote upon each application and share comments to DEF’s curatorial team. The curatorial team includes Cathryn and Dan Colcer, the project curators, as well as DEF’s Executive Director and Marketing Manager. The curatorial team synthesizes the feedback of the Cultural Committee, reviews available wallspace and each artist’s application to make final recommendations to the property owners whose walls are utilized for the project. As a third and final phase of the selection process, the property owners review and approve the curatorial team’s final recommendation of artists to be paired with their respective wall spaces. 

The curatorial process is vital to Deep Ellum Blues Alley to ensure the project has continuity and flow, historic and cultural relevance, balance and a strong variety of both artists, musicians and other elements represented. 

Stipend & Contract

There is an initial $500 stipend for chosen artists – to cover your initial time and cost of materials. Full compensation is determined based upon square footage of the awarded wall space ($10 per square foot for artwork, $4 per square foot for field color). Once selected, artists are sent a contract to review and sign. The contract will provide further detail on the allotted wall space and compensation. Artists are paid the final balance for their work upon completion of their approved artwork. 

Rights/Entitlements

By submitting your application, you are stating that:

  • You are the original creator of your design and will not have copied anyone else’s work.
  • Your design does not infringe on anyone else’s intellectual property rights such as trademarks, copyrights, trade dress or design patents.
  • If anyone else has contributed to your design, you will obtain a signed, written agreement from that person or those persons, which assigns his/her/their rights in the contribution to you. 
  • Upon approval for exhibition, you are asked to sign a contract including “Copyright Assignment.”
  • Artists’ signatures may be displayed as part of the installation. Artist’s bios along with a description of the artwork also will be featured in DEF educational and promotional materials, press releases and on the Deep Ellum Texas website. 

Artists will receive recognition for their murals at an opening event (to be scheduled), in educational and promotional materials about Blues Alley and upon the DeepEllumTexas.com website.

Deadline to Submit

Initial submissions due by Feb. 15, 2022. If chosen, you will have roughly 14 days to fully develop your concept and design.  Upon approval, you will have roughly 30 days to complete your work.  See anticipated schedule with key deadlines highlighted in red below.

 

Schedule (may be revised)

  • Request for Proposals Issued: Monday, Dec. 20, 2021
  • Deadline for Artist Initial Submissions: Tuesday, February 15, 2022
  • Artists Chosen and Notified: Monday, February 28, 2022

 

Note, the following schedule dates and deadlines will differ depending on individual artist’s availability and the phase of the Blues Alley Project each selected artist is participating in during the Winter into early Spring.

  • Artist Contract Signed: Friday, March 4, 2022
  • Deadline Full Concept & Design Submissions: Monday, March 14, 2022
  • Day of Kickoff Event & Installation: March 15-20, 2022 (depending on artists availability)
  • Installation Completion Deadline: Saturday, April 23, 2022

 Instructions for Submission

  • Please submit your contact information and links to your artist webpage or social media accounts, samples of your work and a brief statement about yourself, your interpretation of Deep Ellum and our history including in Blues, and any historical figures, graphic ideas or artistic concepts you are particularly interested in. DEF and its Curator team will ultimately choose the subject for the selected artists. Note, all material submitted to DEF as part of your application will become the property of DEF and will not be returned to the artist.
  • Upon acceptance, and at the point of submitting your sketch(es), each proposal is reviewed to ensure compliance with the standards outlined above. As the series of murals must come together to embody one cohesive Blues experience, we ask that you consider two to three topics that reflect our theme. Our overall goal is a juxtaposition between beautiful and colorful patterns and scenes and story lines reflective of neighborhood history, the symbolic nature of the area and those human faces that composed Deep Ellum’s history. You may discuss these with the DEF curation team in advance to narrow down to one proposal or include several sketches in your full concept and design submission. DEF may ask for additional information or clarification.
  • If an approved design is selected, the artist is notified and asked to sign a contract including Copyright Assignment.
  • If any artist’s submission is incomplete, it may not receive consideration as part of Phase 2.75-3 of the Blues Alley Project. 

Initial Submission Checklist

  1. Contact information: Name, address, phone numbers, email.
  2. Artist Bio or brief statement about yourself.
  3. A brief statement regarding your interpretation of Deep Ellum history and why it is important to create a visual representation of our history. 
  4. A short list of any subject(s), ideas of interest and/ or rough sketches/designs regarding the theme of Blues and/or music in Deep Ellum. This may include concepts such as abstract work, graphic ideas, street scenes and other symbolic works. 
  5.  Links to your artist webpage and social media pages and any ecommerce sites.
  6.  Five work samples in JPG or PDF format, including at least one sample that is an exterior mural. (Important Note: Samples to be submitted via email to Taylor@deepellumtexas.com whereas all other information should be provided via the online application form).

Fill out the application form here!

If your name is not selected for Phase 2.75-3 of the Deep Ellum Blues Alley Project, we will retain your information for possible selection to participate in future portions of the Blues Alley Project.

If you are unable to meet requirements and deadlines shared above but wish to participate in a future phase of the Blues Alley Project, please follow these same submissions instructions and simply note your unavailability for Winter 2021. 

Contact

For questions regarding topics for the Deep Ellum Blues Alley Project, Artist Supplies, Safety, Exhibit Information, etc: Please contact Taylor Adams at: 214-454-4915 or via email Taylor@DeepEllumTexas.com 

About The Deep Ellum Foundation

The Deep Ellum Foundation operates as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation managing public and private funds within the community to advance the interests of the neighborhood as a whole and achieve a sustainable growth trajectory for the district now and into the future.

VISUAL REFERENCES:

 

 

 

MUSICIAN REFERENCE LIST:

  • Mance Lipscomb
  • Henry Qualls
  • RL Griffin
  • Jim Suhler
  • Lonnie Johnson
  • George Little Hat Jones
  • HashBrown
  • Wanda King
  • Whistlin Alex Moore
  • Ray Sharpe
  • Cal Valentine
  • Albert King
  • BB King
  • Albert Collins
  • Johnny Watson
  • Lowell Fulson
  • Bobby Bland
  • Johnny Copeland
  • Delbert McClinton
  • Anson Funderburgh