Who can apply?

This competition is open to Canadian artists who work in all mediums and reside in Canada. Artists may apply individually or can submit a collaborative team proposal, providing at least one artist resides in Canada. Artists directly involved with the Gardiner Museum are welcome to participate.


The winning artwork will have a total budget of $95,000 (plus HST), which includes all costs associated with the creation of the artwork, including but not limited to artist design fees, administration, engineering review, supplies, materials and fabrication, insurance, delivery and installation. 

Context and Location

The Gardiner Museum is located at 111 Queen’s Park, flanked by University of Victoria’s Annesley Hall on the south side, and the Centre for Medieval Studies to the north.

The award-winning building was designed in 1983 by Keith Wagland and renovated in 2006 by Toronto architectural firm KPMB. The planned location for the sculpture is at street level, at the north end of the property, adjacent to the entrance and the garden by landscape designer Neil Turnbull. Southwest of the sesquicentennial sculpture location is the Gardiner’s first outdoor art installation, a large ceramic work by internationally acclaimed artist Jun Kaneko. The exact location will be finalized in Stage 2 of the project.

To accommodate accessibility considerations and to protect the sculpture, a plinth will be constructed to display the work.  

The planned location is 8 ft wide and 7 ft deep. There are no restrictions on height, other than budgetary and structural limitations.



The Gardiner Museum celebrates the art of ceramics. Artists should consider the versatility and uniqueness that working with clay offers while aiming to ensure that the materials are durable and able to exist in a Toronto winter condition.

Artists may work with a number of materials in the production of their piece but the surface of the sculpture must be seen to be ceramic. Apart from the internal armatures, the final sculpture must be no less than 80% ceramic, featuring a low porosity material (probably high fired and finished with a suitable glaze).

Proposals should take into consideration the environmental and physical interactions that would affect public art, including but not limited to: weather changes, moisture and climatic cycles, sunlight exposure, and numerous audience interactions.


Project Schedule

March 31, 2016           Stage 1 – Contest and Request for Qualifications announced

May 1, 2016                Closing date for Stage 1 submissions

May 1-15, 2016           Review of Stage 1 submissions; selection and notification of five finalists

May 15, 2016              Stage 2 begins – development of proposals by five finalists

June 30, 2016             Closing date for Stage 2 proposals

July 1-15, 2016           Review of proposals by advisory committees

Mid-July, 2016            Jury review and selection of winning project

September 2016         Announcement of winning project

TBD                            Installation of artwork

There will be an opening celebration for the installation.


Stage 1

Stage 1 is the request for qualifications, where we welcome entries from Canadian artists. These will be reviewed by museum staff and consultants who will select five short-listed artists to be invited to develop and submit detailed proposals. Artists will not be reimbursed for any costs related to Stage 1 submissions.

Stage 1 submission requirements:

  • One page letter of interest explaining general approach to the project and why this project is of interest
  • Curriculum vitae to a maximum of three pages

  • Examples of past work (maximum of five) with descriptions and images (the samples presented can be in any media but three dimensional works would be most useful)

  • Copy of the signed Agreement to Propose and Consent Form (available for download on the Submission page)



Stage 2

The five short-listed artists ("Finalists") will be contacted to participate in Stage 2, which involves developing a detailed proposal. A technical advisor will be appointed to assist artists with identifying appropriate ceramic materials, resources and developing their plans. After review by the advisory and technical committees for comments, the proposals will be submitted to an art expert jury, who recommend the preferred proposal. Short-listed artists will receive a proposal fee of $3,000 plus HST for their complete and compliant submission.

Stage 2 submission requirements:

  • Description of the artwork, including the materials to be used, the source of the materials, the dimensions of the artwork, and the weight of the finished artwork, it’s structure and support system

  • Fabrication information is required noting the location where the artwork will be fabricated

  • Delivery and installation details, including how the work will arrive at the Gardiner Museum

  • Details providing an assessment of the durability, safety, and security of the artwork

  • A budget breakdown of artist fees and expenses (including travel), fabrication costs, insurance, delivery and installation costs, contingency. Note that this project has a fixed budget so costs beyond the available budget will be covered by the artist

  • Detailed drawings or a maquette of the proposed artwork


The winning artist will enter into a contract with the Gardiner Museum based on current public art models. The Gardiner Museum reserves the right to terminate the contract (with or without cause) at any time.


Copyright and Ownership

The sculpture created for this project will be owned by the Gardiner Museum. The artist must guarantee that the artwork is original and does not violate the copyright of any other person.

The artist will retain copyright of the sculpture but will grant the Gardiner Museum the exclusive right to exhibit the work in perpetuity and the non-exclusive right to reproduce images or videos of the artwork for non-profit purposes such as marketing and promotion, documentation, education and for commercial broadcast purposes. The Gardiner Museum may carry out conservation and maintenance as deemed necessary to protect the artwork and the premises and reserves the right to move or deaccession the sculpture.