The Orange County Arts Commission serves as a clearinghouse for arts information, facilitator of arts programs and advisor to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners regarding the arts. We have been the Designated County Partner (DCP) of the North Carolina Arts Council in Orange County since 1985 and are responsible for sub-granting state and county funds to arts organizations, schools and artists throughout the county. Our mission is to promote and strengthen the artistic and cultural development of Orange County, North Carolina.

In order to submit an application or register, you need to first create a Submittable account.  If you need assistance, please contact Katie Murray at or 919-245-2335. 


A project of the Hillsborough Arts Council and the Orange County Arts Commission with support of the Town of Hillsborough, Hillsborough Tourism Authority, and the Hillsborough Tourism Board


The Hillsborough Arts Council (HAC) and the Orange County Arts Commission (OCAC), in partnership with the Town of Hillsborough, are seeking an artist to design, fabricate, and install an exterior, permanent piece of public art for the gateway entrance to River Park in Downtown Hillsborough, NC. This prominent sculptural element will incorporate and celebrate wood salvaged from the historic Calvin Street Tree that fell during Hurricane Florence. 


The Calvin St. Tree was a Southern Red Oak located at 408 Calvin Street in Hillsborough, NC, that fell during Hurricane Florence. It was estimated to be approximately 250 years old and was one of the first selected for the Hillsborough Treasure Tree program, which singled out the oak “for the grandeur of its large spreading limbs.” The tree’s trunk measured 27 feet in circumference and stood approximately 100 feet tall from its base. 

Wood has been milled to be used for an artist-created piece of public art in River Park in Downtown Hillsborough, NC (see cut list). This prominent sculptural element will be located close to Churton Street, the main artery through Downtown Hillsborough. The goal of the work is to serve as highly visible welcome for visitors to town, symbolizing the importance of art, history, and the natural environment for the Hillsborough community. The art installation coincides with a major improvement plan for River Park (see  site plan).

Project Specifications:

The project partners seek an artist to design, build, install and maintain the Calvin St. Tree project. The project must adhere to the following specifications:

  • Fit within the geographic boundaries illustrated on the attached map and be outside of NC Department of Transportation right-of-way. 
  • Incorporate and celebrate the wood from the Calvin St. Tree, alone or in combination with other natural materials including additional wood, glass, stone, brick, concrete, ceramic, or metal.
  • Not contain any synthetic materials, with exception elements needed for structural support.
  • Include maintaince plan and be maintained by artist for three years. 

Budget and Submittal Requirements:

Funding for the project is provided by HAC, OCAC, the Town of Hillsborough Tourism Board, the Hillsborough Development Tourism Authority, and donations from the community. 

The artist’s contract for artwork will be $20,000, inclusive of all artist fees, and associated expenses for design, structural engineering, fabrication, insurance, transportation and consultation during installation. The salvaged wood from the tree will be provided to the selected artist and is not part of the $20,000 budget. An additional $2,000 is available for installation costs that may be required beyond the scope of the artist. 

The selected artist(s) will be required to meet the following insurance requirements:

  • Commercial General Liability: $1,000,000/$2,000,000 Per accident
  • Automobile Liability: $1,000,000 (CSL) Per occurrence
  • Umbrella Liability: $1,000,000
  • Workers' Compensation: Required if contract holder has employees; statutory coverage as required by the State. Owner Waiver is acceptable for a Sole Proprietor.

A certificate of insurance for property coverage, as well as general liability coverage, naming Orange County and Hillsborough Arts Council as additional insured, will be required. In lieu of property coverage, a performance bond of $20,000 is also allowed. 

For more information regarding minimum insurance requirements, please click here. Artists needing insurance assistance or coverage may contact:

David Ballard

Ballard Insurance Agency, Inc.

105 West King Street, Hillsborough, NC 2727

(919) 732-2158

The selected artist will receive a contract for design, fabrication, installation and maintenance services from the OCAC. The artwork shall be owned by Orange County, NC. The artist shall retain copyright, and must allow Orange County, OCAC, HAC, and the Town of Hillsborough permission to use images for educational and promotional purposes.

Selection Process:

A review panel will evaluate all submittals and select three finalists based best qualified to execute the project as evidenced by examples of past work. The panel will consist of the following individuals:

  • Marabeth Carr: landscape architect, Orange County Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Gail Cooley: board member, Hillsborough Arts Council
  • Patrick Dougherty: sculptural artist
  • Anita Mills: board member, Orange County Arts Commission
  • Torey Mishoe: director, Hillsborough Arts Council
  • Katie Murray: director, Orange County Arts Commission
  • Stephanie Trueblood: public spaces manager, Town of Hillsborough

The panel will identify three finalists who will be invited to develop conceptual site-specific proposals after meeting with the project team and key stakeholders and a site visit. These finalists will be paid an honorarium of $1,000 for development of a proposal. One final proposal will be selected and submitted for permitting. 

Required Submission Materials:

  • Completed application
  • Statement of interest, including relevant past projects/experience
  • Resume or CV 
  • Three to five relevant work samples with a corresponding numbered list describing each image. Samples may include website links and/or digital images in pdf or jpg format 

Artist Selection Considerations:

The project is open to artists age 18 and over, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, age, religion, political affiliation or beliefs, national origin, or handicap. Priority will be given to artists residing in North Carolina. Teams of two or more artists can apply.

Additional considerations:

  • Complete application submitted prior to the application deadline. 
  • Artwork examples submitted represent the artist’s own original creative work. 
  • The artist’s work reflects artistic excellence, innovation and originality, as evidenced by professional quality of craftsmanship and mastery of skills, techniques; professional approaches to processes and presentation, and/or communication of a unique vision or perspective. 
  • The artist’s work is judged to be appropriate to the goals of the project. 
  • The artist's professional experience is adequate to meet the demands of the project. Qualifying activities would include some combination of the following: education and training as an artist, an exhibition record in museums, commercial art galleries,  and/or non-profit art spaces, previous public or private commissions; participation in artist-in-residency programs, or other related activities indicative of a professional art practice. 
  • The artist is available to participate in the design, approval and implementation of the project as required, as well as promotional efforts possibly including photos and interviews with local media.
  • Assessed ability to meet project deadlines and to perform work in a timely and professional manner.
  • Results of reference checks for project finalists.


Friday, March 15, 2019: Deadline for submissions due at 11:59p.m.

March, 2019: Committee review and selection of finalists

No later than April 1, 2019: Notification of finalists

Friday, May 31, 2019: Final proposals due

June - July, 2019: Committee review, finalist interviews, and selection of final artist, permitting

August, 2019: Fabrication to begin

Spring 2020, tentative: Installation and unveiling


Katie Murray

Director, Orange County Arts Commission 


To view site photos and the River Park Site Plan, click here.

Arts Educator Grants are available to public school arts educators in Orange County Public Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools seeking professional development. This program funds a variety of expenses and is designed to assist arts educators in advancing their careers.

The grants are available to any public school educator in Orange County teaching in the visual or performing arts. Funds will be allocated on a rolling schedule until they have been depleted for each fiscal year, ending June 30.       


  • Travel expenses related to workshops or seminars, or to do research related to his/her art form, such as meals, lodging and transportation.
  • Expenses related to workshops, master classes or coaching that will enhance the teacher’s abilities and/or allow the acquisition of Continuing Education Units, such as registration fees, substitute teacher costs, or required supplies.
  • Purchase of supplies, materials or equipment necessary for the completion or production of work which is considered to be essential to the advancement of his/her teaching career.

Arts Educator Grant Program funds may not be used for the following:

  • Student travel
  • The completion of baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate degrees
  • Classroom supplies


Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a full-time preK-12th grade teacher in the visual or performing arts at any school within Orange County Public Schools or Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
  • Must be returning to the classroom in the consecutive school year

Applicants may apply once per fiscal year (July 1 - June 30).

Orange County Arts Commission