Request for Qualifications: Seeking artist for commissioned piece on climate resilience

Call Summary

The University of Washington Climate Impacts Group is seeking qualifications for a two-dimensional visual art piece depicting climate resilience in the Northwest. This call is open to emerging artists located in the Northwestern United States. We define emerging artists as artists who have not received a commission greater than $10,000 or do not have commercial gallery representation.

Applications are due Monday, February 22. The selected artist will be announced in late March. The selected artist must complete their work by June 30, 2021, and present their work at a celebration for the Climate Impacts Group’s 25th anniversary at the end of June or in early July (exact date to be determined).

Artists will be compensated $3,000 for their time and materials.

Project Description

The Climate Impacts Group is commissioning a new two-dimensional original artwork that celebrates climate resilience and imagines a future in which the Northwest is prepared for the effects of a changing climate. We seek work that illustrates a possible future where we have adapted our systems so all can thrive.

In the Northwest and around the world, we are experiencing the effects of human-caused climate change. From extreme wildfire and drought impacting health and livelihoods, to sea level rise and flooding altering the landscapes of our coasts, we know that the impacts of a changing climate are serious — and are projected to get worse.

And yet there is hope for a future where these changes are minimized by rapid decarbonization, and where communities and ecosystems are resilient in the face of these impacts. There is hope because every day, people across the Northwest are making decisions to help us prepare for — and thrive in — the climate of the future. We are adjusting our infrastructure to prevent extreme flooding, constructing highway passages so elk, deer and other animals can find new habitat in a changing landscape, and bringing communities together to prepare for the effects of wildfire smoke.

The commissioned artist is encouraged to explore diverse materials to create a two-dimensional artwork that can be easily transported, presented in multiple locations and presented digitally.

This work is being commissioned as part of a celebration of climate resilience marking the Climate Impacts Group’s 25th anniversary. We’ve been working since 1995 to develop scientific understanding and catalyze regional action to address climate risks.

Art goals

  • Communicate the impacts of climate change on the Northwest and the importance of preparedness for those impacts
  • Communicate the importance of producing climate science that meets real-world needs
  • Inspire action, creativity and community around climate resilience
  • Connect the climate adaptation community and the public to a positive, hopeful vision for a healthier, more equitable, more sustainable future
  • Create something beautiful that can be shared widely online, in print and on social media.

Here are some questions to guide your thinking on this topic:  

  • How are people connected to the environment? How are we separated from it?
  • What does climate adaptation look like in the Northwest?
  • What kinds of communities, leaders and technologies do we need to prepare for climate change?
  • What will the world look like in 2045 as a result of climate adaptation?
  • What will the world look like in 2045 if we do not adapt to climate change?

Art Location

  • The final art piece will be debuted at a virtual celebration of the Climate Impacts Group’s 25th anniversary convening our partners, alumni and community members
  • The art piece will be displayed on the Group’s website and social media accounts
  • The artist is welcome to display the piece on their websites and social media accounts
  • The final art piece may rotate among the offices of Climate Impacts Group’s partner organizations or University of Washington Departments. The artist may be involved in discussions about how the piece will be displayed.


The budget for this project is $3,000. This amount is meant to cover materials as well as the artist’s time and labor in meetings with Climate Impacts Group staff and creating the artwork.

Artist Eligibility

  • Must be an emerging artist — someone who has not received a commission greater than $10,000 or does not have commercial gallery representation
  • Must reside in the Northwestern states of Washington, Oregon or Idaho
  • Must have familiarity with the impacts of climate change in the Northwest
  • Experience working with community members and/or stakeholders in a collaborative setting is encouraged (artist is expected to meet with Climate Impacts Group’s staff and partners to gather feedback about Northwest climate resilience and incorporate into project)
  • We are accepting applications from individuals only; artist teams are not eligible for this opportunity.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

Application Requirements

Your application should include the following:

  1. Visual support materials
  2. Annotated list of visual support materials
  3. Statement of interest
  4. Resume or short biography

1. Visual support materials

  • Please provide three to five examples of previous work, sent as digital images in jpg or png form
  • Use the following convention for the file name: LastName_FirstName_Photo#
  • Where available, provide examples of your work that best illustrate your ability to depict intersections of people and the environment.

2. Annotated list of visual support materials

Please include a PDF or Word document with a numbered list of the visual support materials, ordered to match the number in the file name. For each visual material listed, please include a brief description of the work, the materials, and the budget and client or commissioning organization as-applicable.

3. Statement of interest

Please describe, in 600 words or less, your interest in and vision for this project. Your statement should be written in a PDF or Word document and should answer the following questions:

  • Please introduce yourself as an artist and describe how your background, skills and knowledge make you a strong candidate for this opportunity
  • If you were selected to create an artistic representation of climate resilience, what would be your approach to this assignment?
  • What does climate resilience mean to you?

4. Resume or short biography

Your resume or short biography highlighting relevant experience that would make you a good candidate for this project. Since you will be meeting with Climate Impacts Group team members throughout the project, we are especially interested in your communication and project management skills.


Submissions must be received on or before Monday, February 22, 2021.

Submission Process

Please send submissions to and use the subject line “[Your Last Name] Submission to RFQ for Climate Resilience Art 2021.” Submissions by mail or fax will not be accepted. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206.543.6450 or

Selection Process

A review committee of two to four Climate Impacts Group scientists and/or partners will review the applications and select two to six finalists for interviews. During the interview process, applicants may be asked for an early concept description or sketch. Interviews will be held virtually in mid- March.

Selection Criteria

Visual supporting materials will be reviewed for:

  • Artistic excellence
  • Artistic vision

Statements of interest will be reviewed for:

  • Demonstrated interest in climate preparedness, environmental health and/or conservation
  • Cultural significance (such as encompassing diverse perspectives and including culturally and economically important species to the Northwest)
  • Demonstrated understanding of the impacts of climate change
  • Skills and abilities related to working with community members to develop a piece of art. Examples include: synthesizing lots of ideas and knowledges; facilitating or leading group discussions or feedback sessions; multi-disciplinary or cross-boundary thinking; openness and willingness to incorporate feedback into the work.

Project Timeline

(This is a preliminary timeline and subject to slight changes) 

  • Finalists will be interviewed in mid-March and a winner will be announced in late March.
  • Alongside the Climate Impacts Group’s communications specialist, the artist will schedule several virtual interviews and group discussions with Climate Impacts Group staff and partners during the month of April to learn more about CIG’s work and vision for the project.
  • The artist will meet virtually with a local eco-artist and teacher for mentorship and support three times throughout the project. Meetings will happen on a schedule co-determined by the artist and mentor.
  • A concept proposal is due in late-April.
  • The artist and Climate Impacts Group staff will meet once, virtually, during the first week of May to discuss the concept map and provide feedback.
  • A complete draft of the piece will be due in early June.
  • The final art piece is due, sent in a high-resolution digital file, by June 30.
  • The artist will be asked to present their work at a virtual celebration of CIG’s 25th anniversary, to be scheduled at the end of June/early July.

Budget Timeline

  • Start of Project: 10% of budget
  • Concept proposal: 15% of budget
  • Delivery of project: Balance


As part of this project, the chosen artist will be mentored by a local, established eco-artist and teacher. The mentorship will focus on incorporating collaboratively-generated ideas into their artwork and artistic expression. The artist and mentor will decide together on the schedule and level of formality for meetings.

Resources for Questions

Please direct any questions to Tess Wrobleski at Please include in your subject line “Inquiry re: RFQ for Climate Resilience Artist 2021.”

About the Climate Impacts Group

Since 1995, the Climate Impacts Group has studied the effects of fluctuations in climate, including human-caused climate change, on communities, economies and ecosystems in the Northwest. Working with partners in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana and Northern California, we have developed tools and resources to help people in government agencies, businesses and community organizations to prepare for the effects of a changing climate.

Statement from the University of Washington about Work for Hire

All Materials produced under this Contract shall be considered “works for hire” as defined by the U.S. Copyright Act and shall be owned by the UW. The UW shall be considered the author of such Materials. If the Materials are not considered “works for hire” under the U.S. Copyright laws, the Contractor hereby irrevocably assigns all right, title, and interest in Materials, including all intellectual property rights, to the UW effective from the moment of creation of such Materials. For Materials that are delivered under this Contract, but that incorporate pre-existing materials not produced under this Contract, the Contractor grants to the UW a nonexclusive, royalty-free, irrevocable license (with rights to sublicense others) in such Materials to translate, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works, publicly perform, and publicly display. The Contractor warrants and represents that the Contractor has all rights and permissions, including intellectual property rights, moral rights, and rights of publicity, necessary to grant such a license to the UW. The UW shall receive prompt written notice of each notice or claim of copyright infringement received by the Contractor with respect to any Materials delivered under this Contract. The UW shall have the right to modify or remove any restrictive markings placed upon the Materials by the Contractor.

Sources for Additional Information

For more information about how climate change stands to impact the Northwest, check out our nine-page reports “Shifting Snowlines and Shorelines” and “No Time to Waste.”

Check out our sea level rise data visualization tool and our tribal vulnerability assessment resources.

Read selected media coverage of our work: 

Gov. Inslee points to climate change as wildfires choke Washington state, West Coast | KOMONews | September 15
[Gov. Jay Inlsee] and a fire ecologist warned during a news conference that if something isn’t done about climate change, conditions will worsen for the U.S. CIG Climate Adaptation Specialist Crystal Raymond is quoted: “As bad as it is now (and) as high as the risks are now, they will continue to worsen as long as climate change is an issue. We can expect to see more extreme fire danger days, longer fire seasons and overall greater acreage burned.”

Chehalis: A Watershed Moment | PBS | June 11
This documentary captures the diverse perspectives of stakeholders involved in creating the  Chehalis Basin Strategy, which aims to reduce flood damage and restore salmon habitat throughout the entire Chehalis Basin. CIG Research Scientist Guillaume Mauger is interviewed.

Climate change’s impact on Washington weather | The UW Daily | April 20
The projected impacts of decreasing snowpack in Washington are discussed. CIG Researcher Harriet Morgan was interviewed: “Basically, the snowpack is nature’s water bottle. It’s storing our water so that we have some of it in the summer when we’re not getting that rain. What’s happening as temperatures warm? Our snowpack is declining.”

Tacoma redesigning popular beach using climate change projections | King 5 News | Feb 12
CIG’s sea level rise resources are mentioned.

New report describes anticipated climate-change effects in Washington state | Puget Sound Institute | Feb 6
CIG Director Amy Snover was interviewed for this blog post summarizing the Snowlines and Shorelines report. “That’s the happy secret of climate change. There is more happening than most people know. That being said, it isn’t really enough. It’s just the beginning, and a lot more needs to be done.”