Program Overview for Artists

Thank you for your interest in participating in the Mini Murals program.  We look forward to receiving your application for the Artist Registry for this civic art program that brightens and elevates the public realm for all.

This Program Overview provides general information. Artists selected for the registry will be provided with a complete set of Program Rules, and an Artist Agreement to sign, that contains further details.

Artists who receive a commission to create a Mini Mural are required to follow all Program Rules. This ensures that the Mini Murals program remains in good standing with the cities that lend their cabinets for artists to enhance.

Program Background

Mini Murals is an award-winning program that transforms drab utility cabinets in the public right of way. By using the cabinets as blank “canvases” for original artwork, primarily by local artists, Mini Murals instill civic pride while beautifying neighborhoods and making cities more inviting places to visit, stroll, and travel.  Started in Houston, Texas, the program has spread to other cities. To date UP Art Studio has produced more than 400 Mini Murals – with more continuously in development.

The Mini Murals program name is proprietary to UP Art Studio. It is trademarked. Primarily, the cabinets used are city-owned traffic signal control cabinets at signalized intersections.  Our all-inclusive project fee includes a living-wage fee to the artist. Projects are sponsored by cities, other governmental entities, the private sector, and individuals.

All installations are posted and visible on UP Art Studio’s Mini Murals website, which credits the artist (and provides links to artists’ online presence). We also actively promote them through the Houston Mural Map, Mini Mural Tours, and our social media accounts.  Artists are also encouraged to publicly promote their Mini Mural.

The Artist Registry & Selection Process

To be considered for a Mini Mural commission, artists must first apply to our Mini Murals Artist Registry.  Please visit the Artists Info page for step-by-step directions on how to apply.

You will be notified as soon as a decision is made. Panel members may include city staff as well as art professionals and aficionados.  A duo or team of artists may apply together, if they wish to do their Mini Mural projects collaboratively.

Artists age 18+ may apply by submitting their resume and examples of past work, rather than design proposals for specific projects. Emerging artists are encouraged to apply. However, individuals must demonstrate a track record of professionalism, technical skill, and successful project completion. For emerging artists who are accepted into a registry based on previous work, (or a first-time outdoor public artist/muralist accepted into the registry) we sometimes offer an informal apprenticeship program, in order to develop artists’ skills by pairing them with experienced professional artists.

Maintaining a consistent Artist Registry application process is intended to ensure equity of opportunity across the program. As project opportunities arise, we may reach out and invite artists to apply who have lived experience of the specific project area (and its unique character and culture, including racial identity).

The City (and other governmental entities with which we work) reserves the right to review and approve proposed artists and artworks.  A formal review process may apply.

All artists selected for the program sign an Artist Agreement. Please see the agreement for additional details.

Artist Payment

Commissioned artists are typically paid $1,250 for each Mini Mural project. This includes a $1,000 artist fee and a $250 stipend for materials. If more than one artist works on a Mini Mural, the artist fee is split.

The artist fee is inclusive of all artist services.  It includes development of images and artist renderings, community engagement, the final design, painting of the Mini Mural on the cabinet, and all other time and tasks required for the project. (Note:  The cleaning and priming of the cabinet, and final clear coating, are professionally performed by UP Art Studio or another third party, and are not the responsibility of the artist.)

The materials stipend is paid 3 days before painting begins. The fee is paid after the project is completed.

The Artwork Proposal Process

Preparing A Proposal
After joining the Artist Registry, artists may respond to the Calls for Renderings with proposals for a specific project. We welcome and encourage creativity. We love seeing the ideas and images that artists propose!  In crafting imagery for the cabinet, artists should think holistically about how the cabinets will be seen from many angles; use all four sides to full advantage. Conceptual artist renderings are submitted on a template form, which provides an image of a standard utility cabinet.

Artwork proposals are encouraged that positively reflect the unique culture, racial identities, history, and iconic public figures of the surrounding neighborhood. Often Mini Murals tell a story, or reflect one.  Consider that the artwork will remain in place for many years. For some projects, UP Art Studio conducts a formal community engagement process in which the artist participates.

Artists accepted to the registry are provided with Design Guidelines that provide the details and the rules for developing a conceptual artist rendering for a project.  They are included in the Program Rules for Artists, which are provided if accepted into the registry.

Review Process: Conceptual Renderings
All proposals (conceptual artist renderings) are subject to a review process. They are reviewed by UP Art Studio, the client/sponsor, and local officials (e.g. for compliance with the City Sign Ordinance that prohibits advertising.)  If a rendering in not accepted, the artist may submit another concept. The conceptual rendering also can be added to our book of Stock Renderings, for consideration by other sponsors/clients. Artists are officially commissioned for the project after the rendering is accepted.

We look forward to reviewing your application for the Mini Murals Program Artist Registry. 

Thank you!

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