Public Art

Breaking the Bronze Ceiling


Request for Qualifications 

Breaking the Bronze Ceiling

Deadline to Apply: May 15, 2019

Project Budget: Up to $500,000



Across the country there is a growing movement to recognize noteworthy women and their historical contributions through public monuments. Unfortunately, less than 7% of the 5,193 monuments in the United States presently recognize women. In Lexington, Kentucky there are none. We are about to change that statistic with the Breaking the Bronze Ceiling initiative.


Our goal is to have a monument in place in a prominent downtown Lexington location in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, enacting women’s right to vote and the role Lexington / Fayette County women played in that historic event. 


The Lexington Fayette Urban County Council and Mayor of Lexington Kentucky have come together with private companies and community members to support the erection of a commemorative piece of public art in honor of the history of women in this area.  Breaking the Bronze Ceiling is the significant first step in creating public art that more fully represents the diverse history of our city, beginning with commemorations of visionary and inspiring women. 


The commemorations honoring our women’s history will:

1.     Commend the history of women in their organizations, activities, accomplishments in the Lexington-Fayette area;

2.     Demonstrate support for womens’ contributions and the continuing empowerment of all women in our community, and;

3.     Serve as a source of inspiration and encourage to all citizens


The public art installation is part of the national celebrations in 2020 of the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, recognizing the right of women to vote.


Breaking the Bronze Ceiling Overview

Breaking the Bronze Ceiling (BTBC) is initiating a Request for Qualification from individual artists, designers or art/design teams for creation of a three-dimensional permanent outdoor artwork that celebrates the history of the Women’s Suffrage movement in the pursuit of gaining the right to vote for women.   Artists are asked to design artistic elements that celebrate women in Lexington’s history and inspire civic engagement in the space. 



Any Artists 18 or older, with a U.S. Federal Tax ID and appropriate artist and business insurance can apply.  We are committed to a policy of providing opportunities to people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, veteran status, or physical disability.


The BTBC RFQ seeks all qualified artists with the experience and capacity to produce permanent artwork.  Responses are due May 15, 2019 VIA https://artist.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=5822


After a thorough review of RFQ submissions by a jury of stakeholders, three to five artists will be selected as candidates for the Request for Proposals.  Guiding criteria for selection:

    Artists must be 18 or older, with a U.S. Federal Tax ID and appropriate artist and business insurance. 

    Ability to draw public attention to the history of Lexington Womens’ role in the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

    Artistic distinction and aesthetics

    Interactivity with the viewer.

    Contextual integration into the landscape of Lexington.

    Public safety and appropriate materials for longevity in an outdoor setting



Artist must apply through the callforentry.org

The following documents are required:

1.     Letter of interest (typed, 2 pages maximum): Should include a description of artist’s approach to public art.

2.     Current and Professional Resume (2 page max please)

3.     At least (3) professional references for individuals or institutions who possess or have commissioned your artwork. Please provide address, email and phone number.

4.     Visual Support Materials: six to ten recent/relevant images of works which illustrate previous experience.


    All digital images should be submitted online in jpg or pdf.

    Names of digital images should consistently read: [Image Number] _ [Project
Title]_[Title of Work] _ [Artist(s) Name(s)].

    By responding, artists agree to allow BTBC to display submissions at their own discretion.

Applications should be entered through https://artist.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=5822


Please contact Nathan Zamarron (nzamarron@lexarts.org) with any questions.



After a thorough review of all qualified RFQs, three to five artists will be invited to participate in commissioned proposals to design a site specific public artwork for Breaking the Bronze Ceiling in Lexington.  Selected Finalists will have a site visit to Lexington prior to delivery of the artwork proposal.   Proposals are expected to represent a unique commission in ample detail and provided in a format that may be exhibited.  Each artist will be awarded $2,000 upon receipt of a qualifying proposal. In addition, there is a travel allowance of up to $750 per finalist to visit the proposed site and research the area. Submitted materials will become the property of BTBC; copyright of these materials will be owned by the artist. 

Successful proposals will be expected to provide:

    A written document expressing the conceptual framework, artistic point of view, and description of materials;

    Digital rendering of proposed artwork;

    Small-scale 3-D model / maquette;

    A timeline and budget for production and installation;

    An estimate of replacement, routine maintenance or repair



Breaking the Bronze Ceiling is committed to using community engagement throughout the planning process for the artwork.  The selection process will include community input. 



    March 15, 2019 - RFQ posted

    May 15, 2019 - RFQ Deadline

    June 15, 2019 - Finalists notified

    July – August, 2019 - Site Visits to Lexington

    September 1, 2019 - Proposals Due

    September 15 – 30, 2019 - Community Engagement: Proposals displayed in public exhibition

    November 2019 - Final Artist(s) chosen/notified



Lexington’s region today boasts eighteen institutions of higher learning and a thriving music and arts scene. It is a pastoral university city encircled by farms, racetracks, bourbon distilleries, and the palisades of the Kentucky River. It was the first city of America’s pioneer west.  In recent years, Lexington has seen a dramatic revitalization of its historic downtown. This public art initiative seeks to build upon this very positive momentum. 



Additional background related to this opportunity can be found by visiting these sites: 

    Breaking the Bronze Ceiling - https://breakingthebronzeceiling.com/


    2020 Centennial - https://www.2020centennial.org/

    Kentucky Womens Suffrage Project - https://networks.h-net.org/KyWomanSuffrage

    LexArts - lexarts.org

    City of Lexington, KY - lexingtonky.gov

    Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau - visitlex.com




Q: Based on the title of the project, is it envisioned that there is an expectation the artwork should have a figurative representation of local women who fought to realize the 19th Amendment?

A: Requests for proposals will  not be limited to figurative work. 

Q: In order to best reflect our ability to incorporate figurative elements into our unique approach to commemorative design, may we include a schematic rendering of a site specific concept for this RFQ?

A: While figurative bronze is definitely an option we are open to concepts that are in other materials and artistic styles.  Images of past work are required to demonstrate your ability to design and realize public art; schematic renderings will not be reviewed by the panel for the RFQ.   

Q: What is the Timeline for completion of the artwork/monument?

A: We anticipate August 2020 for completion

Q: We are applying as a team, can we include a resume for each team member?

A: Yes, each team member can have a resume of up to 2 pages.  The resumes can be combined into a single pdf and uploaded.

Q: Has the location of the monument been identified?

A: Not yet, a site will be identified prior to the finalists creating proposals.

Q: Can the Artist's full concept for the artwork be included in the letter of intent?


A: Per the RFQ, the letter of interest should include a description of the artists approach to public art and interest in this project.  We are not looking at concepts in the RFQ phase, only qualifications.  More information will be provided to the finalists regarding the subject and site that should inspire the artists' concept.