Delimit: Call for Speculative Public Art Proposals
Deadline: July 10, 5 p.m. EST Registration form click HERE   Markham Public Art and the Varley Art Gallery of...

Deadline: July 10, 5 p.m. EST
Registration form click HERE


Markham Public Art and the Varley Art Gallery of Markham invite professional artists* to propose speculative public art* concepts for the City. Artists should make their proposals in response to one of an assortment of actual sites in Markham, some submitted by the public, some chosen by the Delimit team. Some of the sites are real, existing or potential future sites for public art in Markham, while some are not. Some of the sites are owned by the City, some by other organizations (e.g., the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Parks Canada, etc.). All are located within Markham’s boundaries. Artists can choose one of these sites to work with, sketching* their concepts onto the Google street view image provided for each site. From these initial proposals, a jury that comprises a variety of professionals in the field will select a shortlist of ten projects. Each of the ten artists will receive $1,000 to further develop their idea into renderings, as a way to analyze the site and test the proposed form of rendering*. Delimit will conclude with each jury member announcing their personal favourite of the ten projects, and sharing the reasons behind their choice. All proposals will remain anonymous to the jury throughout the entire process.

The Delimit online competition seeks to re-chart the possibilities of public art production. Functioning as a prototype, Delimit invites artists and the public to imagine and test proposals when they are no longer burdened by budget, structural engineering, fabrication, and maintenance concerns. What kind of space and public can art generate?

All Delimit proposal ideas and renderings will be made available to the public through social media, employed here as a virtual, activated public space for participation and exchange.


All proposals should be site-specific, proposed in reference to real materials, and address scale* in relation to their chosen site. The jury’s considerations will be guided by a series of keywords, which are marked in this text by asterisks (*). Their definitions in the context of Delimit can be found below in the Glossary.


  1. Applicants will be asked to submit their contact information, CV, and choice of site upon registration. All applications are made via the online submission form (Click HERE);
  2. Qualified applicants will receive an assigned number to be included with their anonymous proposal, image files of their chosen site’s virtual street view, and further instructions on how to complete their submission;
  3. Submitted proposals should include the applicant’s assigned number, one sketch* of the concept, and a short description (up to 100 words);
  4. Ten shortlisted artists will be asked to submit a set of renderings* with related drawings (up to five images in total) to further illustrate their proposal.


Call for proposals: June 29, 2020, 8 a.m. – July 10, 2020, 5 p.m.
Shortlist of ten artists contacted: July 20, 2020
Renderings due: August 2, 2020, 5 p.m.
Final presentation and announcement: August 10, 2020


Richard Fournier, Manager, Parks & Open Space Development, City of Markham
Helena Grdadolnik, Director, Workshop Architecture
Marcin Kedzior, Founding editor of journal Scapegoat: Architecture, Landscape, Political Economy
Vivian Lee, Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Toronto
Jason Lujan, Faculty in Arts, Culture, Media at University of Toronto Scarborough
Janine Marchessault, Curator, Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, York University
Colin Miner, artist
Crystal Mowry, Senior Curator, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
Parvathi Nampoothiri, Manager, Urban Design, City of Markham
Annie Wong, artist


Professional Artist: For this competition we use the definition of professional artist provided by the International Artists Association: someone who “earns a living through art making; or possesses a diploma in an area considered to be within the domain of the fine arts; or teaches art in a school of art or applied art; or whose work is often seen by the public or is frequently or regularly exhibited; or is recognized as an artist by consensus of opinion among professional artists.” (Source: CARFAC)

Public Art: In the City Council-approved Markham Public Art Master Plan 2020-2024, Public Art is defined as an original work in any medium that meets all the following criteria: the work is created by one or more Professional Artists*; the work is relevant to its site and context; the work has been planned and executed with the specific intention of being sited or staged in a public space. In addition, each public art project will meet at least two of the following objectives: 1) Inspire people to live in, work in, visit and invest in Markham; 2) Celebrate the diverse cultures and heritage in Markham from multiple points of view; 3) Connect residents to Markham’s built and natural environment.

Rendering (Sketch): All submitted renderings and sketches must use the provided virtual street views as their basis. In this competition, we encourage you to think beyond rendering as a computer graphics tool and beyond realistic architectural depiction. Rendering is both a representation and a projection, helping us to imagine new relationships between objects, space, and people, how they orient themselves in the world, and how they use their existing context and history to imagine new possibilities.

Scale: All proposals are asked to address scale in relation to the built environment, natural environment, and human environment.

Organized by Markham Public Art in collaboration with the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Delimit is part of Online, a digital initiative for public art that is unfolding throughout the summer of 2020.

General inquiries:

Media inquiries:
Anik Glaude, Varley Art Gallery Curator
Yan Wu, Markham Public Art Curator