The mission of Zed:
To generate “the highest quality fun, artistic, innovative experience for our customers, and support the artists delivering that experience.”
Download the proposal application here:
Artist’s Guide to ZED is about artists and collaboration first and foremost.
We are a multi-disciplinary creative company of fine artists, builders, media producers, techies and more. Our goal is to create an immersive, interactive museum experience that excites audiences of all ages. We want to celebrate and lift up artists and engage the community in the process.
The following information should be useful in writing an art proposal for a ZED project. We know we won’t be able to predict all the cool things that artists might come up with so we expect this document to expand as we learn.
—Your Fellow Zed Heads
We encourage projects created through collaborations by artists with different skill sets. Working together will accomplish things not possible as individuals. Whether the project is being proposed by a group or an individual, please consider: Do you have all the skill sets needed to complete the project? Can you work within the group, the timeframe and the budget, accounting for the unexpected along the way? We are all reaching for the stars with these projects, but be realistic about what you can do yourself(ves), with some help.
Immersive Amazement and Wonder
Viewers’ senses should be engaged by the space. Ask yourself: Have you considered the floor, ceiling, entrance, exit, lights? Is every surface used thoughtfully? What will the environment sound like? Are you providing rich detail? Does it express variety and depth, with multiple layers of visual interest and many interpretations? Does it invite viewers to step into a different reality and even expand their idea of what is possible?
Bring us your fresh ideas or turn old concepts upside down. Ask yourself: Has this been done before? If so, then how does my version of it expand, flip or subvert expectations?
All-ages doesn’t have to mean G-rated. Does the work have enough depth and variety to be enjoyed by a wide range of people, from grandparents to preschoolers?
Designing an experience includes an element of time. Consider the following when designing yours:
Hook An element that attracts the visitor’s attention and invites them to look closer.
Explore The closer look reveals unexpected things that further engage the visitor’s interest.
Discover Continued exploration is rewarded with more revelations, clues, and surprises, as well as possible connections to other things they’ve seen. It might answer a question posed somewhere else in the museum.
We are limited by building codes in a variety of ways. We can answer questions about this during the submission period, but only generally. Commissioned artists will get support and instruction in the following areas, after being contracted:
Fire regulations, ADA regulations
Engineering for durability and safety
Finding professional expertise as needed
Site tour and specs given, collaboration facilitated especially with transitional spaces
Team communication requirements
We believe strongly in paying artists well for their work. It's in our mission. That said, we have a set art budget that allows for about 50 installation pieces at an average of $500 to $4,000 per installation. This will cover artist fees and materials.
Artist fees are to cover the time and labor of all artists working on the installation, as well as any outside vendors needed to complete work. The artist fees are proposed by you, the artist(s), but are subject to approval by the jury committee based on scale, quality of work, and are all determined on a case by case basis. Material costs are laid out separately, and paid out separately. Once the artist(s) and Zed have agreed upon the offer, contracts will be put in place.
Estimated materials costs will be paid upon the signing of contract, or later if necessary, when we have confirmed the build-out access date with the site. All receipts of materials used and purchased will be due and settlement of any difference will be made upon installation of the work.
Each artist fee will be paid for in three parts. A 25% deposit will be offered after the final acceptance of the proposal. Another 25% will be paid upon delivery of the finished work.
Here is where we are asking you to take a leap of faith. The third part of the artist fee will be paid after revenues reach a certain level, which will be outlined in each artists contract.
This approach is based on similar successful pre-opening models and our own strong business plan. We understand if you are unable to take the risk that partial revenues will not come through. In that case, we thank you for considering our proposal and wish you well. However, if you are willing to give it a go and join us and become a fellow Zed Head, we humbly thank you and promise to work hard and smart to make Zed a rousing success financially and artistically.
Think about the journey - The audience is moving through this space. Consider sequential experiences, passageways, variations in elevation and depth.
Interactivity - We love tech stuff AND analog stuff. All projects will have some kind of light. Many will have sound. It doesn’t have to go beyond that for us to love it.
Mechanical movement - If you are proposing mechanical movement in your piece, please put a lot of thought into durability and maintenance. Mechanical movement— analog, pneumatic, electrical, or otherwise—is a big challenge to maintain.
Dream it - There will be a backstory to the Zed experience. This will give the many parts a cohesive purpose, though it's important that the museum can be enjoyed without knowing anything about it. Our hope is that viewers will be intrigued by the mystery and lore and keep coming back to discover more.
Artists are encouraged to engage with the backstory but it is not required. The basic idea is that viewers are entering a dream, a fantastic series of interlacing worlds where anything can happen and surreal visions confuse and enchant. If you would like to know more specifics about the backstory in order to work it into your proposal, contact us.
Living Exhibit - No animals, plants or other living things.
Dangers - No flames, sharp edges, or things that give off fumes.
Dead Ends - Tiny spaces for one or two visitors to hide from the crowds are charming. However, they are a challenge to durability, egress, and flow.
Things that Suspend and Hang - Installations that require ceiling fixtures have the potential to damage art and other viewers. We don't entirely discourage it, but anything with this capacity is subject to engineer sign-off and is more difficult to incorporate.
Plumbing and building infrastructure - We cannot add plumbing. Similarly, we cannot add intense electrical, HVAC or other infrastructure to the building
Multiple rooms/massive space requirements - Projects that involve multiple rooms are unlikely to work for us. Anything over 15’ x 15’ x 15’ is also unlikely to be approved.
Need for attendants or performers - Though we do plan to have docents and performers in the exhibit, all projects must be self sufficient. If you design for performers, also anticipate times when no performer is available.
Daily maintenance - With high traffic daily maintenance requirements may actually be constant. One viewer handling a sculpture might take months to do damage, but thousands can break it in days.
Ready to submit? Here’s what we’re looking for:
Provide examples of previous work that show off your abilities—both in what you are proposing to do and what you do in general. Upload relevant images (sketches, elevations, diagrams).
We need art that is small, medium, large and extra large, just like pizza. For larger pieces, please design modular elements for ease of installations and load in (load in access has 10' clearance). We will have some outdoor art space as well (details on that are still being worked out). If you work much smaller (dioramas for example), that’s great too. We want to fill all the nooks.
Be specific, be professional, be realistic. Tell us what it’s like to move through the installation as a viewer. Follow the instructions in the application form.
To submit a proposal or get more information:
Download the Artist Proposal Form Above
or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
Ready to Volunteer?
Feeling inspired but don’t have an idea for a proposal? With all great things, many hands are needed. Email us to volunteer in other ways at: