Call for Artists-Public Murals


Under this Call for Artists, the City of DeKalb (“City”)— on behalf of the City’s Citizens Community Enhancement Commission (“CCEC”)— is accepting proposals from qualified candidates who would like to participate in the City of DeKalb’s Public Mural Program.


This project is open to all artists, especially local and regional artists. The CCEC encourages applications from Northern Illinois University (NIU) students, faculty, and alumni artists. DeKalb area and NIU applicants may be given preference if all else is equal. Artists may apply as an individual artist or as a group. For group submissions, a signed Release of Liability and Indemnity Agreement for each participating artist must be included in addition to the application form and design template. No more than three submissions per individual or group.

Project Description

The City of DeKalb and the CCEC have designed a program to support public art initiatives to enhance the community and neighborhoods through the creation of murals. The City’s Public Mural Program is designed to enhance the aesthetics of the city, promote civic pride, highlight the community’s diversity, promote a spirit of Belonging for all citizens, increase pedestrian traffic and extends public art to new areas and unexpected places while creating an attractive environment and allowing art to be introduced to the public in a creative and inventive way. The program goal is to bring beauty and color to public spaces such as city-owned buildings.

The CCEC would like to encourage artists and community members to create murals within the City to beautify the streetscape by incorporating the theme as inspiration for proposal submissions. Artists are not required, but highly encouraged to incorporate volunteers into the mural process. Artists may create a template or outline to help volunteers paint the mural or propose another concept for involving volunteers in the mural process.


Artists shall submit the following for consideration:

  • Artist Application
  • Resume
  • Link to portfolio
  • Narrative describing design concept, one to two paragraphs
  • Full-color design for consideration
  • Line-item budget
  • Reference(s)

Proposals will be evaluated based on:

  • the artistic excellence, vibrancy, and originality of the artist
  • the appropriateness of the design for its site in the DeKalb community 
  • the documented experience of the artist in completing similar projects

Designs must be the artist’s own work and must not violate any copyright restrictions.

Artists with previous mural design and installation experience are eligible to submit a proposal.

Submission Process

All components of the proposal must be submitted in digital format via the online submission form linked here.

There is no submission fee. Artists may submit more than one proposed design.

All correspondence and contracts are part of the public record. By submitting materials, you are (1) consenting to the release of those materials by the City in response to requests under the Public Records Act and (2) agreeing to indemnify and hold harmless the City for release of such information.

Selection Process

The CCEC and City staff will review applications for completeness and eligibility. The City Council will determine project award(s) and contract terms, and will give final approval to the design.

Project Logistics

The City and CCEC have identified two (2) preferred locations within the city limits available for murals. These two sites include:

Annie Glidden Road Underpass

The west wall of the Annie Glidden Road underpassWest Wall

The east wall of the Annie Glidden Road underpass

East Wall

Dimensions: Each retaining wall is approximately 479 feet and range in height from two feet to 13 feet under the railroad tracks. The location offers a large canvas with walls along both northbound and southbound lanes of South Annie Glidden Road available as mural sites. The City and CCEC have identified this location as a preferred site for a mural depicting a sense of welcoming, community pride, school spirit theme.

South Wall of City Hall BuildingThree mural panels on the south wall of City Hall show recreational scenes

Dimensions: 33 feet tall x 28 feet wide. The wall currently has three (3) mounted murals depicting recreational themes dating back to when the building was owned by the DeKalb Park District. The City intends to remove existing mural panels, which have faded, and place them in storage. Artists have flexibility of using multiple panels similar to those currently installed or utilizing entire south wall as a mural canvas.


Submissions must be received no later than 11:59 PM (CST) on Wednesday, July 13, 2022.

Mural agreement available: By July 26, 2022

Project completed: By October 1, 2022

The mural should be installed to withstand weather and other site conditions for a term to be agreed upon by the selected artist and the City in the mural agreement. The mural is subject to removal by the City at any time during or after the agreed upon period. Should project(s) experience delays due to inclement weather or artist illness, the project completion deadline may be extended upon consultation with City officials and CCEC.

Artist Stipend

An artist stipend of up to $15,000 is available depending on the size and scope of the mural project. The CCEC and City Staff will review mural project proposals and recommend to the City Council an appropriate stipend. The City Council will make final decision of stipend amount. The Stipend must cover the artist’s design fee, supplies and travel. The CCEC Chair is willing to have discussions with applicants on possible work and equipment the City may be able to provide to reduce the project’s cost.  One-third of the amount will be paid when the mural agreement is signed; one-third at the project mid-point; and one-third when the project is completed.


The following requirements apply to all approved applications: 

  • The applicant must have liability insurance for the duration of the mural project and provide a Certificate of Insurance at the time a contract is issued that lists the City of DeKalb and its officers, agents, and employees as additional insured. 
  • The City issues a contract outlining the terms of the mural project and the payment schedule if City funds are available. Once the City receives the signed agreement, processing of payments begins. The awarded amount of funding is typically divided into two or three payments. The final payment is made following receipt of the final report and documentation. 
  • Artist(s) is responsible for cost overruns of respective mural project.
  • The City sends the agreement to the property owner with instructions. 
  • Applicant notifies the City of completion of mural. 
  • Applicant submits a final report within 45 days of completion of the mural summarizing the completed project and detailing the use of Public Art Mural funds. Copies of invoices, receipts, and checks are required documentation for the final report. Any refundable deposit is refunded back to the applicant upon completion of all requirements.

Project Contact

Scott Zak
City of DeKalb (IL)
Management Analyst
Citizens Community Enhancement Commission Liaison
(815) 748-2396