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Call to Artists:

Darke County Center for the Arts

Darke County Art Trail

Request for Qualifications


Darke County is located in the central western side of Ohio. Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA) whose mission is to present and promote performing and fine arts, encouraging cultural enrichment is the organization driving the Darke County Art Trail (, documenting and adding public art to locations across the county as well as publicizing the art trail.


DCCA is seeking requests for qualifications for a new sculpture for the art trail, to be designed, created, and installed by May 2024.


DCCA is looking to create a new sculpture to be located at historic Bear’s Mill.


Historic Bear’s Mill is part of the Darke County Parks and is one of the few water-powered mills in Ohio. Built by Gabriel Bear, the mill has been operating since 1849 and is still in use today. 


In addition to the historic mill as an attraction, Bear’s Mill offers 35 acres of land including pathways along the creek and the millrace (the offshoot from the creek that powers the mill) out to the low dam that feeds the millrace. Along the main path are multiple installations including a memorial to the armed services, a gazebo, an overlook over the mill pond, and an overlook of the low dam. 


The pathway along the millrace where the sculpture is expected to be installed.


Bear’s Mill is asking for a sculpture to be included along the pathway. The themes they are interested in exploring include:

  • The founder, Gabriel Bear 

  • Water

  • Stone 

  • Wood 

  • Gears 


A kinetic or interactive sculpture is of high interest.

Dimensions: The dimensions of the sculpture should not exceed 10 feet wide, 10 feet tall, and 5 feet deep.


Budget: For the Bear’s Mill sculpture, artists’ design and installation should target a budget between $20,000 - $40,000. 


Timeframe: Installation between May 2022 and April  2023

Selection Process:

Stage 1 - Request for Qualifications Submissions


Artists are asked to submit samples of previous works similar in design and concept as the work for this location. Please include dimensions, location, when installed, photographs, and budget. 

If an artist doesn’t have samples of previous works but wants to submit, they are welcome to submit samples of their outdoor public sculptures or conceptual drawings of ideas for the location.


Artists interested in submitting need to provide the following:


  • A current resume / C.V.

  • Samples (1 - 5) of installed works, including dimensions, location of installation, and date of installation.

  • Artist name, email address, and phone number


Deadline to submit qualifications is 5:00 PM (Eastern), Tuesday, January 31, 2023.


Submissions are via an online form. To submit, visit 

Stage 2 - Developed Design


Submissions from Stage 1 will be reviewed by the Darke County Art Trail committee to select the top 3 candidates.


The top 3 candidates will be invited to create a design, budget, and installation package. 


The artists invited in the top 3 designs will be given a stipend to help cover the costs of their time to create the final design package, including site visits, design, and planning.


Stage 3 - Design Selection and Installation


The Darke County Art Trail committee will review the detailed designs submitted and select one design to be installed at the location. The selected artist and design will complete a contract to create and install the work on budget and on schedule.


*Some installation activity can be done by Darke County Parks, including clearing of land, concrete foundations, access to lifts and heavy item moving. Work performed by Darke County Parks will come from their budget and not included in the artist’s costs. Artists are asked to detail out the site preparation and sculpture installation items in their final design. The Darke County Art Trail committee, Darke County Parks, and the artist will work together to determine the preparation and installation activities and costs during the design process. 

Photographs of the expected location:

Bears Mill 1_edited.jpg

View from the mill. The millrace is to the left and the pathway is to the right.

Bears Mill 2_edited.jpg

The path along the millrace, headed towards the sculpture location. The existing structures can be seen down the path. The sculpture will be located along the path before the gazebo and other installations.

Bears Mill 3_edited.jpg

The expected location for the sculpture. The pathway to the gazebo and millrace dam proceed straight. There is a sign indicating a path heading to the right proceeding through the woods and is another route to return to the mill. The tape measure is stretched out to 10 feet to give an indication of location and size. We hope to not have to remove any trees to accommodate the sculpture.

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