Request for Proposal: Revitalization of Public Spaces in Milan, MN


Request for Proposal: Milan Revitalization of Public Spaces RFP

Full proposals are due by May 25th, 2018 at NOON. Please send all required components of your proposal in a single pdf document to If you are not on the Partnership Art Artist Roster, you will also need to complete an artist roster proposal in addition to the following proposal. Artist Roster applications can be found HERE.

Community Background: Milan is a small community of just under 400 people that has been experiencing population declines since the 1940s. This population decline shifted in the mid-2000s when Milan became a destination for many Micronesian immigrants, who are allowed to move freely to the United States due to a compact, but have few legal pathways to citizenship and permanent residency. It is estimated that nearly half of Milan’s population is Micronesian and Latinx.

Milan is a community rich with amenities and artistic traditions. Milan has a strong Norwegian heritage which is proudly displayed around the community and at local celebrations including Syttende Mai and the Meander Art Crawl. Community volunteerism drives the Greater Milan Initiative, a local nonprofit that operates a community space, thrift store, exercise center, and artist studios. The Milan Village Arts School is another local institution that is well renowned and engages people in the practice of traditional, contemporary, and folk arts.

Project Background: Over the past year, Artists have been helping long-time residents and a growing Micronesian population better articulate needs and desires around housing and the future of the community through the PlaceBase Production of This Land is Milan and the Listening House projects. Milan has done an amazing job reflecting who their community was and preserving that cultural heritage. The Norwegian history can be seen in murals, community signs, local celebrations, and buildings. What is not reflected is who Milan is today and will be in the future despite the growth of Micronesian and Latinx households which now constitute an estimated 50% of the population. Community engagement revealed that cultural dislocation is a concern for both long-time residents and newcomers. Newcomers fear the loss of traditions from their place of origin and long-time residents struggle with understanding Milan’s new identity. In addition, some of the existing public art is showing disrepair. One of the key challenges/opportunities that emerged was to address the visual revitalization of public spaces. This effort has the opportunity for social interaction among community members to create vibrant public spaces and public messaging that reflect the town as it is today and will be in the future.

Additional Background: As part of the Listening House community engagement effort, three key challenges/opportunities emerged:

-The visual revitalization of public spaces

-Building better relationships between community members

-Developing new leaders

An artist team has been hired to address the opportunities around building better relationships between community members and developing new leaders through an effort called (Un)Charted. Their work will be simultaneously occurring in Milan and Partnership Art will make introductions between the artist teams.

Request for Proposal: This RFP is soliciting proposals for an artist to work with the City, SWMHP Staff, and community members, to assist with the following tasks:

1. Determine what the desired approach should be to host design workshops that engage an ethnically diverse representation of the community to provide input on how public spaces can be revitalized;

2. Create recommendations/design concept(s) from community input; and

3. Put into action the design concept(s).

Seeking a workshop designed differently than traditional community engagement techniques. It is important to note that residents have participated in past planning exercises that have not lead to project development and this could be a barrier the selected artist will need to be aware of in planning their workshop. Residents will want action behind the work and resources are included in this RFP for implementation of design concept(s).

The committee will review your proposal and select an artist based on the Selection Criteria below. Artists and creative people from a range of disciplines are encouraged to apply including visual artists, public artists, performing artists, graphic designers, makers, event producers, and more. Partnership Art also recognizes that the artist team can be fluid based on recommendations that emerge from the design workshops. Respondents can engage a team of artists as needed for the design workshops and/or implementation aspects. For this proposal, respondents can list the names and artist discipline for potential partners but do not need to include detailed information/resumes for each artist partner as this could change based on design recommendations.

Goals of Partnership Art:

– to engage arts and cultural strategies in community planning efforts as they relate to housing

– to help strengthen the social, physical and economic fabric of rural, diverse communities

– to engage the diverse cultural groups of Milan

Project Timeline:

May 25th, 2018: Proposals due by NOON. (If you are also submitting for the Partnership Art Artist Roster that application must be submitted by this date as well)

June 12th, 2018: Artist Interviews*

June 15th, 2018: Artist Selected June 25th, 2018: Project Commencement

July-August 2018: Design Workshops

September-November 2018: Project Implementation

*Artist Interviews will take place in Milan, MN with a selection committee, sometime between the hours 10:00 am-2:00 pm. The Selection Committee will include representatives from the City of Milan and SWMHP. A stipend of $250 will be made available to those artists who are invited to interview for this project.

Proposals should include:

-Project description (500 words max), which addresses the following:

Please describe what your approach would be for the project.

  • Why are you interested in this project?
  • What process would you propose for collaborating with community partners?
  • How will you engage a diverse representation of households in the process?

-Project budget with summary list of all costs such as: design fees and meeting time, production/fabrication, travel costs, etc. (as applicable). Budget should not exceed $75,000 total and is subject to change.

-A visual representation of a past project you have designed or otherwise been involved in creating, or partnered with others to create.

-Timeline for the project: include a brief overview of the steps you envision need to be performed during the project timeline. All design workshops and recommendations need to be completed by September 1, 2018. Implementation of design concepts may extend into 2019 if necessary due to weather, but every effort should be made to complete all work by November 30, 2018.

-List of additional artists/creative place-makers involved in the execution of the project, if any.

Please click here for details and pdf.

Proposals are due by NOON on May 25th. Please contact Chelsea Alger with any questions, or visit to learn more about this initiative through the Southwest MN Housing Partnership.

Chelsea Alger

Resource Development Officer

2401 Broadway Avenue, Slayton, MN 56172

P: 507.836.1622

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