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Seeking Artists with a LOVE for Recycling for Public Art Display

COMMUNITY CENTERRecycling & ReusingNov 3, 2022Rebekah Eastep

Author: Rebekah Eastep

We’re thrilled to announce an open call for artists and artistic teams who are interested in collaborating with to create public art with a purpose. Our Recycling and Beautification Committee will work with the winning artist to envision and develop a dynamic Virginia LOVE sign, encouraging Hampton Roads residents and visitors to “Start Smart, Recycle Right.” Applicants have until Dec. 9, 2022 to submit their conceptual vision. The winning artist or group will receive an up to $2,500 stipend for creating the sign—along with an array of recyclable materials they may need to adorn it.

“Public Service Announcement”

The final art piece will be a traveling, visual interpretation of our committee’s charge—to encourage residents to start smart by choosing products that can be recycled, and to recycle right by only placing accepted items that are clean and dry in their recycling bins. This will not be the first time has partnered with an artist to create a memorable message. In 2019, the Recycling & Beautification Committee engaged Norfolk artist Sam Hundley to use litter from that year’s Great American Cleanup effort to create a commemorative art piece. Using flattened metal containers, furniture fragments and other discarded items, Hundley’s creation, “A Public Service Announcement,” traveled to city halls and attractions across the region for display.

The LOVE artwork should be freestanding, safe for indoor and outdoor use, and include any equipment needed to secure it in place while on display. To be easily transported, each letter or component should weigh no more than 50 pounds, and the entire display should fit within a standard pickup truck. If applicants choose, can provide the letters for the teams to decoreate. While applicants are not required to use recyclable materials in the artwork, will provide access to items such as plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper and cardboard at no cost to the artists through their partnerships with local recycling facilities.

Candidates should create a brief proposal describing their vision and message of the artwork and include a single draft example of the initial design concept. Artists and teams do not have to live in the Hampton Roads area to apply. All proposals are due Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. Additional information and application details are available below or by downloading the application packet.

Download an application packet.

Project Overview:

This opportunity is open to artists, engineers, craftsman, and/or creative teams to make a visually striking Virginia LOVE sign (or creative interpretation of a Virginia LOVE sign) that is easily portable and focused on encouraging the community to create less waste and recycle right. It should be a visual experience reflecting the importance of limiting the waste we create, promoting recycling the right items, and/or the positive impact recycling has on our shared environment. It must be sculptural and representative of the diverse communities that make up our region. If the team prefers, can provide the LOVE letters. Each letter will be about 60” x 42” and made of either aluminum composite or PVC. Should prefabricated letters be selected, the artist or design team will only be responsible for the design and assembly of the artwork on the prefabricated letters.

Project Specifications:

  • Artwork should reflect the messages of the “Start Smart, Recycle Right” (SSRR) campaign. The SSRR campaign encourages Hampton Roads residents to reduce waste and recycle right. Residents can reduce waste by replacing disposable, single-use items with reusable alternatives and picking products packaged in easy-to-recycle materials. The campaign defines recyclables as paper (including cardboard), plastic bottles, and metal cans. Campaign materials should be reviewed prior to developing any proposals to ensure consistency of messaging:
  • Artwork should be safe for both indoor or outdoor use. The display should be freestanding and include any equipment needed to secure it in place while on display.
  • To be easily transported, each letter or component should weigh no more than 50 lbs. The entire display should fit within a standard pickup truck for ease of transport.
  • If using recyclable materials in the artwork design/fabrication, materials can be provided at no cost to the artist through in partnership with local recycling facilities. Using recyclable materials is not required.
  • If selected, final artwork must be ready by March 31, 2023 at 5:00 PM.
  • The final art production will become the sole ownership of Attribution will be given to the artist/team, whenever feasible.
  • org reserves the right to disqualify any entry that is alleged to infringe on any third-party’s intellectual property or other rights.
  • Submission of a response to this proposal indicates the agreement of all participating artists with the terms and rules outlined here.
  • Questions for the selection committee are encouraged at any time in the process and may be emailed to


  • August 2022: Open call announced
  • December 9, 2022: Submission deadline (Extended from October 7, 2022)
  • December 12-31, 2022: Semi-finalists meet with selection committee
  • January 2023: Final proposal selected/Announcement
  • January2023-March 2023: Fabrication (Due by March 31, 2023)
  • Earth Day – April 22, 2023: Unveiling and Launch Party


Up to $2,500 — will provide the selected artist or team with up to $2,500. If the artist/team would like to use prefabricated letters provided by, the compensation amount will be $1,500. If the artist/team chooses to build their own letters, the full $2,500 in compensation will be provided. Compensation may be used for design, materials, fabrication, delivery, and travel expenses. If applicable, the selection committee can coordinate the collection of actual recyclables (bottles, cans, paper/cardboard) at no cost, but the artist/team must recover these by hand from the recycling facility.

Selection Process:

We are looking for an inspired, unique, and experiential sculptural piece that speaks to regional residents and visitors alike about the importance of recycling and recycling right. Please reference the Start Smart Recycle Right materials and attached scoring rubric. Semi-finalists will meet with the selection committee to discuss their proposal, budget, and project implementation strategy. A winner will be announced by January 2023. Final artwork must be ready by March 31, 2023.

How to Submit a Proposal:

  1. Applicant should create a brief proposal (500 words or less) describing the vision and message of the artwork and include a single draft example of the initial design concept. This can be a hand-drawn, digitally rendered composition, etc.
  2. Submitted proposals will be scored based on criteria presented in the attached rubric.
  3. The deadline for proposals has been extended to December 9, 2022 to the Hampton Roads Planning District Office. Proposals may be emailed to or mailed/delivered to the following address:, 723 Woodlake Drive, Chesapeake, VA 23320
  4. Very Important: Start Smart Recycle Right materials must be reviewed, and only completed and properly formatted proposals will be considered.
  5. Finalists will be contacted directly and invited to discuss their proposal, budget, and project implementation strategy with the selection committee. The project will be awarded by January 2023.
  6. Project funds will be available in January 2023 with half awarded upfront and half due upon completion.

What to Include in Your Proposal: 

  1. Statement of interest, including all contact info, bio, and specific reasons you find this project necessary (no more than 300 words). Please provide your contact details and if working as a team, the team’s name with a single point of contact.
  2. A written proposal for Start Smart Regional Recycle Sculpture (no more than 500 words). Include specific connections to the region, if applicable. (We understand your initial project ideas may alter as more research and engagement with our team occurs). These initial ideas and the drawing are for reference only and will help the selection committee understand your vision for the project.
  3. Draft sketch or digital rendering of the initially proposed project.

Please provide the following in one (1) PDF document:


  1. Please be sure you read this document entirely before contacting the committee representative.
  2. Questions are welcomed at any time by submitting them to Reference “Start Smart Regional Recycle Right Sculpture” in the subject line.


The Recycling and Beautification Committee is one of four that power the public information and awareness initiative. Made up of municipal workers from all 17 Hampton Roads cities and counties, the outreach program is the source for all things green in Southeastern Virginia, from providing recycling tips and pointers for keeping local waterways clean, to water-saving ideas and simple steps to make local living easy on the environment.