Imagine 2020 Mural Festival Call for Applications

Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 and Fund for the Arts, in partnership with Louisville Metro Government, invite artists, artist collectives and teams, and nonprofit arts organizations to submit their interest and qualifications to create murals as part of the Imagine Mural Festival. 

What is the Imagine 2020 Mural Festival? 

The Imagine Mural Festival showcases local, national, and international artistic talent and Louisville’s vibrant neighborhoods. The Imagine Mural Festival brings murals of all scales to a select Louisville neighborhood each year, engaging residents, business owners, and tourists from across Louisville and beyond. 

Rooted in the five priorities of Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, the Imagine Mural Festival aims to 1) expand access to, and educate through, the arts; 2) cultivate artistic talent; 3) celebrate equity, diversity and inclusion; and 4) promote Louisville as a great place to live, work and visit. 


The central theme of the Imagine Mural Festival is Lean Into Louisville, a city-wide initiative launched by Louisville Metro Government in 2019. Lean Into Louisville is an unprecedented series of presentations, conversations, activities and art exhibits that explores and confronts the history and legacy of all forms of inequality and discrimination. Louisville, a Southern border city with a proud history of brave citizens fighting for civil rights, marriage equality and the welcoming of immigrants, but also of discrimination, can be a national model for civic transformation through guided innovative education and conversation. 

While Lean Into Louisville was sparked by the clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia and the recognition of the lack of understanding of the nation’s history of discrimination and its ongoing impact, it is grounded in hope, inspired by compassion, and sets a goal to create a movement that cultivates a more equitable city where everyone can thrive.  Lean Into Louisville continues Louisville Metro Government’s nationally recognized work building Louisville’s reputation as a welcoming city and how Louisville can create more opportunities for all citizens.  

Site Information 

In its inaugural year, the Imagine 2020 Mural Festival will stretch across Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood. Home to more than 1,600 people, Smoketown is a neighborhood of perseverance. It is one of the first black-founded communities that still exists in Louisville today. Smoketown is home to a proud, majority African-American population with thriving church communities, active and capable non-profits, and successful businesses. Despite the systemic patterns of disinvestment and segregation produced by redlining practices, Smoketown residents have fought to make neighborhood housing, community facilities, and educational opportunities available to all. 

To learn more about Smoketown, read the Smoketown Neighborhood Plan

Timeline (*Note: Timeline dates below have been updated)

  • January 22, 2019: Request for Interest and Qualifications released
  • February 5, 2019: Informational session for local artists at the Tim Faulkner Gallery
    • Time: 6:00 pm
    • Location: Tim Faulkner Gallery
      • 991 Logan Street
      • Louisville, KY 40203
  • Deadline extended: February 27, 2019: Interest and Qualifications deadline
  • By Mid April 2019: Selected artists announced 
  • By June 6, 2019: Selected artists submit concepts and final budget
  • By July 15, 2019: Selected artists submit paint needs
  • October 31, 2019: Selected artists complete work 

For questions, please contact Portia White, Imagine Mural Festival Project Manager, at

Who may submit?

Individual artists, artist collectives/teams, or arts organizations that have been designated as 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service are eligible to submit qualifications for consideration. 

The goal of the Imagine Mural Festival is to be inclusive of artists of all backgrounds and experience levels. There will be multiple ways to participate, with small, medium, and large scale murals. Applicants who are not experienced muralists are encouraged to consider partnering with an experienced muralist. 

Submitting your Qualifications and Interest 

Applicants will first submit their interest and qualifications to develop a mural. Applicants should be prepared to provide the following in the online application:

  • Description of your interest in the festival and its theme and confirmation of your availability to meet the festival timeline. 
  • Cost to complete the work and description of what is included in the cost (i.e., travel, equipment, time, paint, etc.). You may present your cost as cost per square foot or as a cost range. The Imagine Mural Festival will provide lifts and could assist with paint. Please note that your cost should include your insurance. 
  • A CV or resume, not exceeding two pages. For artist collectives/teams and organizations, each team member must submit an individual resume or CV. 
  • The names, titles, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of 3 to 5 references that we may contact to confirm your previous experience.
  • 5 to 10 images (4×6 or 5×7 in size and at least 300 dpi) and/or up to 3 video samples (no more than 3 minutes in length each) documenting previous work. Please provide YouTube or website links to online videos. Digital video files will not be accepted. 
  • A corresponding image/video list with title, medium, dimensions, brief description, location, date of work, commissioning entity, and budget. 

Please note: This is a call for interest and qualifications only. Applicants should not pre-identify a site for their work or present a final concept for a mural at this time. If selected to participate in the Imagine Mural Festival, artists will be assigned a site and then asked to submit a proposed concept and final budget for the assigned site. 

To download application guidelines and access the online application visit:

Qualifications and Interest Review Criteria

Submissions will be reviewed by a committee, which is comprised of local arts professionals, community members, and representatives of the Fund for the Arts, Louisville Metro Government, and the Commission on Public Art (COPA). The committee will review the interest and qualification submissions using the following criteria:

  • Artistic Excellence: Does the quality of previous work submitted demonstrate compatibility with the festival timeline?
  • Festival Theme: Does the previous work submitted demonstrate an ability to create artwork that responds to the theme of the festival?
  • Statement of Interest: Does the applicant clearly articulate their ideas and understanding of the theme? Are the ideas the applicant is interested in exploring compelling and relevant?
  • Experience: Does the applicant have the proven experience to execute the work? If the applicant does not have mural experience, does the applicant present a sufficient plan to prepare for and execute the work?  

Artist Payment 

Applicants selected to participate in the Imagine 2020 Mural Festival will be paid in two installments: one-half prior to the start of the festival, and the second half when the work is completed. 

Payments will be made in the form of a check. Applicants selected to participate in the festival will be required to submit a W9 in order to receive payment. 


Please email Project Manager, Portia White, at with additional questions. 

Project management for the Imagine Mural Festival is provided by Louisville Visual Art. 

Please note: Applicants’ submissions will remain confidential. Images/work submitted as part of the application process will not be shared publicly without the permission of the applicant.