RFP – Call for Artists, Designers and Architects

The Commons – A New Way to Gather at Sandy Spring Museum

A public call for artists, designers, architects

Deadline: March 17, 2021 at 5 pm EST

Project Description:

Sandy Spring Museum has adopted a new Master Plan that  is intended to broaden the impact and utilization of the museum and its campus in order to enhance the quality and broaden the range of the visitor experiences and the efficient operation of the museum. The plan constitutes a vision that will be implemented in phases. The plan is a consolidation of discrete elements, most of which can be executed independently. Each element is scalable and tunable to adapt to evolving requirements, budgets, and schedules. Among the key elements are the creation of  The Commons.  

  • Providing additional parking
  • Clarifying the extent of the museum’s grounds as seen from Route 108.
  • Creating gathering areas of various sizes
  • Increasing the number of studios available to artists.
  • Replacing stand-alone storage sheds that are unattractive and impede foot traffic flow.
  • Attracting and facilitating walkers exploring the property.

The Commons – Outdoor Gathering AreasImages of outdoor gathering spaces


  • Accommodate large rental events for up to 250 people seated at banquet tables .
  • Focal area for festival activities.
  • Enlarged fair-weather venue for existing and future museum activities such as Movie Nights & Beer gardens.
  • Community-gathering events such as farmer’s markets, yoga/exercise classes, fireside storytelling, partner events (e.g. festivals, picnics)
  • Informal relaxation and play for children and adults, possibly encouraged by lawn furniture
  • Create a focal point visible from Route 108 to attract visitors.


The Commons will be an interconnected series of outdoor gathering areas that support multiple, simultaneous small groups engaged in separate (but compatible) activities, yet allowing single large events to feel connected while using entire area. Multiple ground surface materials should be considered to help articulate the different spaces, such as grass, pea gravel, pavers, dyed concrete, and wooden or PVC decking. Subtle changes in elevation and the use of low shrubs create additional interest & and sense of separated togetherness. Some or all areas may include shade devices such as trellises or tensile fabric canopies to provide shade and serve as visual foci.

These elements may include a series of more- or less-formal stages, beginning with simply creating enhanced lawn areas that are graded to be more level yet minimize damp soils, with rented portable tent, stage, and restroom equipment for large events as appropriate. Ultimately, all or most elements may be permanently constructed in an enhanced manner, with tent(s) being demountable. The areas on the East Lawn may take advantage of the sloping ground for terraced seating. At least one space should accommodate a rented or permanent stage, and be able to be covered by a large all-encompassing tented roof. Depending on ground surface materials and potential partial shelters, Stormwater Management may be required; outdoor lighting should be provided.

The design of these areas is very flexible and indefinite at this time; we will conduct several community charrettes to engage the public in the process of refining the concept.

Selection Information

Members of the Museum’s Buildings & Grounds Committee will evaluate responses to this Request for Proposals and   select five individuals or teams.  Successful applicants will be provided with a stipend of $500 with which to develop and submit a minimum of two concepts and designs.  They will present their ideas at a virtual forums to the committee and the community, according to the Schedule on page 3 of this document.  While travel to Sandy Spring Museum is strongly encouraged, travel expenses will not be reimbursed.

Submittal Requirements:

Artists / Team must provide information for each team member, with one individual identified as the lead contact.  1) Statement of interest (max. 1000 words)  Statements should address the artist/designer’s interest in developing a proposal for this specific commission and provide context to their conceptual and aesthetic approach. 2) Artist/designer should articulate why they are qualified to realize a commission of this scale and how they would address the challenges of the project. 3) Include resume(s) and  4) documentation of past projects.  Website links, pdfs, digital images or videos are acceptable.  Include notations on title, year, dimensions, materials, and a brief description of the project parameters, as well as client, budget, and location if applicable.  Provide three references for projects completed as a similar scale.


March 4, 2021 at 7 pm: Virtual  Community Charrette.  Attendance required by all artists/designers who will be submitting a proposal. Register here.

March 17, 2021 at 5 pm EST: Deadline for proposal receipt

March 31, 2021: Notification to artists/designers

April 15, 2021 at 7 pm: Second Virtual Community Charrette.  Required attendance.

May 12, 2021 at 5 pm: Artists virtually present ideas to Building and Grounds Committee

May 27, 2021 at 7 pm: Artists virtually present ideas to Community

How to Apply:

Submit completed application packages to Allison Weiss by 5 pm EST on March 17, 2021.  Please note required meetings listed above, one of which takes place prior to the deadline for submissions. 

Funding for this process is being provided by Maryland State Arts Council.

maryland state arts council logo