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Request for Proposals for Art on National Recreation Trails

Art & Community Landscapes encourages art along National Recreation Trails for increased environmental awareness and stewardship: Deadline: April 8, 2005. See the online database of all 900 NRTs to see if a trail you are interested in is a designated NRT.

photo: Bicycle memorial on the Depot Avenue Trail
Bicycle memorial on the Depot Avenue Trail

Download this proposal in pdf format (184 kb).

By Charles Tracy

Art & Community Landscapes is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Park Service (NPS), and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) to encourage site-based art that serves as a catalyst for increased environmental awareness and stewardship. In 2005, in partnership with American Trails and the National Recreation Trails Roundtable, we are pleased to announce a new round of funding for art projects exclusively for National Recreation Trails. See the online database of all 900 NRTs to see if a trail you are interested in is a designated NRT.

Art on Trails: As trails play an increasingly prominent role in the daily life of Americans, the connection between art and people and trails is growing. Art on trails is expressed in a multitude of forms, especially sculpture, and serves many functions: among which are celebration, placemaking, interpretation, and inspiration. Across America and elsewhere, artists are employing a remarkably wide range of creative strategies and art forms that enhance and inspire all phases of trail activities, from design and development to stewardship and interpretation.

Request for Proposals: We are currently seeking proposals from National Recreation Trail managing agencies and their respective partner organizations (e.g., friends of the trail, local land trust, or community group) interested in working with an artist on a trail art project. If selected, trail managers and partners will play an active role in the artist selection process managed by NEFA and in facilitating community involvement in a trail art project. They will also be required to participate in fundraising efforts in collaboration with NEFA and assist with an arts-related public event on National Trails Day.

Program Description: The selected artist will work with selected National Recreation Trail managers, their partner organizations, and local communities for approximately one year, under contract to NEFA. The artist will develop and implement a site-based art project designed to involve the community and celebrate or interpret the National Recreation Trail.

If your National Recreation Trail is interested in working with an artist, please email a brief letter from the trail managing agency addressing the following criteria:

Commitment of Agency and Partners: Please identify your trail managing agency and key partners. Describe how you envision integrating an artist with your trail management team and partners. We suggest identifying a staff member from the trail managing agency and/or partner organization to be the artist's point of contact and to facilitate community involvement with the project. In addition, we strongly suggest that you seek a local or regional arts organization as a project partner. Contact Liesel Fenner at NEFA (617-951-0010; if you need assistance in identifying an appropriate arts partner.

Local/Regional Funding and Partners: Please identify potential funders and arts-related partners in your region. NEFA will consult with trail managers and their partners in identifying opportunities for private funding support.

Experience Working with Artists/In-Kind Support: We are seeking trail managers and/or trail partner organizations with some experience working with artists. Please describe current or past arts projects related to your trail and indicate possible in-kind support services for the artist, such as temporary office or studio space, phone, etc. Although not required, please indicate possible options for temporary lodging for the artist near the trail.

Trail Themes and Public Involvement: Please provide a brief description of your trail's unique natural or cultural features. What are some potential themes or stories that could be celebrated through the arts? What opportunities exist or could be developed for involving the broader community in some aspect of the arts project?

Host Trail Selection: Key Criteria

  • Previous experience working with artists
  • Demonstrated fundraising capability
  • Commitment from trail managing agency, trail partner and arts partner organizations
  • Potential trail themes and opportunities for broad public involvement

Deadline: April 8, 2005

  • Proposals should be emailed to Charles Tracy.
  • Award Notification: May 2005
  • Successful applicants will be notified in early May; public announcement of selected trails is slated for National Trails Day in June 2005.

Questions? Please contact:

  • Charlie Tracy, National Park Service (617-223-5210)
  • Liesel Fenner, New England Foundation for the Arts (617-951-0010)
  • To learn more about Art & Community Landscapes, including updates on current artists and projects, visit NEFA's website:

About the PartnersÉ

National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is the largest annual funder of the arts in the United States. An independent federal agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts - both new and established - bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education, the Endowment is the official arts organization of the United States government. The Endowment awards more than $100 million annually, investing in every state. The Arts Endowment has played a transformative and sustaining role in the development of regional theater, opera, dance, orchestras, museums, and other arts - both contemporary and traditional - that Americans now enjoy.

National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout the country and the world. Through its Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, the NPS carries out its natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation mission in communities across America.

New England Foundation for the Arts

We creatively support the movement of people, ideas, and resources in the arts within New England and beyond, make vital connections between artists and audiences, and build the strength, knowledge, and leadership of the region's creative sector.

Art & Community Landscapes (ACL)

Art on National Recreation Trails: Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I know if a particular trail is eligible for the program?

See the online database of all 900 NRTs to see if a trail you are interested in is a designated NRT.

2. We need signage and benches designed for our trail and related funding for fabrication and installation. Is our project eligible for ACL funding?

ACL would not be your best bet. We recognize that trail signs are important for any trail, but funding for basic signage and related trail furnishings is not the goal of the ACL program. In general, the program favors projects oApril 12, 2010ss, community involvement and trail stewardship.

3. How are the artists selected?

The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) will manage the artist selection process. NEFA issues a Request for Qualifications as soon as possible after the trail(s) are selected, and subsequently convenes a diverse national jury, which includes the trail managing agency and/or local partners, to select the artist(s).

4. We already have an artist and a project and just need the funding to make it go. What is the likelihood of Art & Community Landscapes funding for this scenario?

Possible. The artist needs to compete with other artists interested in working with your trail.

5. Will we be required to supply housing for the artist?

Housing is not required from the host trail sitesApril 12, 2010 lodging.

6. We're very interested in the project but need direction on identifying an appropriate "arts partner". Can you help?

Please contact Liesel Fenner at NEFA (617-951-0010;

7. If selected, what are the next steps for NRT managers and their partners?

Selected National Recreation Trails will be notified in early May, 2005. Next steps include spreading the word about this opportunity to artists in the region; participating in the artist selection process; working with NEFA to approach potential private funders; planning a fun public celebration event on National Trails Day 2005; and bringing the project to completion.

See the online database of all 900 NRTs to see if a trail you are interested in is a designated NRT.

Download this proposal in pdf format (184 kb).

March 12, 2005

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