4Culture Grants + Calls

RapidRide Expansion Limited Edition ORCA Cards

Three artists will be commissioned to create three artworks, each unique to one of the new RapidRide Expansion lines and featured on a series of limited-edition ORCA cards to be released at the inauguration of each new line.

1 About the Project

1 About the Project

  • Budget: $2,000 per artist [budget is inclusive of artist design, use fee including rights-of-reproduction, and applicable taxes]
  • Project term: June—September 2021
  • Eligibility: young people (age 16–25) residing in King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom Counties and who identify as visual or graphic artists are eligible to apply. Applicants may be pursuing education and/or a career in the arts, but this is not a requirement. In fact, artists with non-traditional and out-of-school training are encouraged to apply. Artists must be able to share a portfolio of 6 work samples created in the last three years in order to be considered.
  • Application: submission of an online application is required for this opportunity.
  • Deadline: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 by 4:00 pm PDT


4Culture, in partnership with King County Metro Transit, seeks three emerging artists to create original artwork to be featured on limited-edition ORCA cards that will celebrate and inaugurate each new line in the RapidRide Expansion program.

RapidRide users pay their bus fare by using an ORCA card to tap on and off. While this experience expedites boarding and payment, the quick action disconnects them from human exchange and engagement with Metro drivers. Investment in ORCA card design presents an opportunity to bring reflection, joy, and connection back to this experience.

For each of the three new lines, one young artist (age 16–25) will be selected to create 2D artwork unique to the identity of that corridor. The 3 selected artists will become part of a cohort advised by a Mentor Artist identified by 4Culture staff. This Mentor Artist will assist the cohort in thinking about how their artwork responds to place, advise on technical requirements for artwork reproduction, and provide support for artwork review with the 4Culture Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) and County partners.

To the extent possible, 4Culture will seek to recruit artists with personal connections to the places, contexts and culture specific to each RapidRide line. Applicants should indicate if they have interest in creating artwork for a specific line, and why, or state general interest in any of the three lines within their Statement of Interest.

Artwork created by the cohort artists will be translated onto the front side of a limited-edition series of ORCA cards that will take the place of any standard ORCA card. The printing, production, and distribution of these ORCA cards will be managed by Metro and 4Culture and is not part of the artists’ scope.

Artists will retain copyright but permit 4Culture to reproduce the artworks on the cards and as a suite of archival prints to be installed within Metro facilities. At the conclusion of the project, 4Culture may elect to negotiate an additional fee for the purchase of the original, unframed artworks to become part of the King County Public Art Collection.


See map below.

This project is not physically tied to a specific site or location, rather it is a system-wide effort focused on the Metro and RapidRide network. The special ORCA cards will be distributed broadly and utilized across all Metro routes even though the commissioned artwork will be inspired by unique features of the three newest RapidRide lines:

H Line: Burien/Westwood Village/Seattle (Delridge)
G Line: Madison/Seattle (via Madison Street)
I Line: Renton/Kent/Auburn


4Culture and King County Metro have a long history of working together on public art projects. For many years, 4Culture commissioned permanent art for integration at transit centers, park and rides, and bus bases. Since 2009, the focus has been on ephemeral art experiences, including a line-specific soundscape and mobile game, an award-winning, multi-lingual poetry program, and development of a world-renowned mural corridor. In 2019, artist team JohnsonRamirez were commissioned to create a system-wide Art Plan that addressed all of the lines in the RapidRide Expansion program. This specific project opportunity was identified in the completed RapidRide Expansion Art Plan (see pages 84–85).

RapidRide is King County Metro’s premier service: arterial bus rapid transit. First implemented in 2009, there are six existing lines (A–F) serving King County today. Each day, these lines carry almost 20% of the over 400,000 daily Metro transit trips taken around the Seattle region and represent one of the busiest bus rapid transit systems in the nation.

Different from standard bus service, RapidRide lines look, feel and operate more like trains. They have:

  • Substantial, permanent stops and shelters.
  • Real-time arrival information.
  • Off-board fare payment so passengers spend more time moving and less time waiting.
  • Significant roadway investment like bus-only lanes and opportunities to jump ahead at signals.
  • Distinctive, branded red buses.

RapidRide consistently scores the highest customer satisfaction marks among all Metro services and, when compared to routes it replaces, has 20% faster travel time and over 50% more riders.

Client Background

King County Metro
4Culture Public Art
RapidRide Art Plan

2 Timeline

2 Timeline

Selection Timeline*

Application deadline: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 by 4:00 pm PDT
Information sessions/application workshops: April 21 and 23, 2021 (more info below)
Selection panel meeting: week of May 17–21, 2021
Artists notified: week of May 31–June 4, 2021

Project Timeline*

Mentor meetings and research: June–July 2021
Design development: July–August 2021
Artwork delivery: by September 10, 2021
Production and distribution: 2021–2024 (exact launch dates TBD)

Virtual Information Session/Application Workshops

Apr 21
Apr 23

3 Are You Eligible?

3 Are You Eligible?


Young people (age 16-25) residing in King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom Counties of Washington State and who identify as visual or graphic artists are eligible to apply. Applicants may be pursuing education and/or a career in the arts, but this is not a requirement. In fact, artists with non-traditional and out-of-school training are encouraged to apply. Artists must be able to share a portfolio of 6 work samples created in the last three years in order to be considered.

Selection Criteria

Finalists will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Quality, consistency and strength of past work as demonstrated in submitted work samples.
  • A clearly-expressed statement of interest that addresses your desire to participate in the project, how the opportunity might shape or impact your evolution as an artist, an overview of your conceptual approach to art making, and evidenced understanding of the project scope and requirements.
  • Availability to attend meetings and deliver artwork between June–September 2021

Selection Process

A selection panel of artists, community members, young people, and Metro staff will review the applications and select three artists and two alternates for this project.

The panel reserves the right to moderate the number of selected applicants or make no selections from the submitted applications.

4 How to Apply

4 How to Apply

Interested artists must submit an online application using 4Culture’s application portal. New accounts are set up by 4Culture staff during office hours, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Usually we can set up accounts very quickly. On evenings and weekends or during exceptionally busy times, it can take a little longer—as such, we encourage new applicants to set up an account as soon as possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.


Your profile in our portal must provide contact information and demographic information for the current year. We do not use this information for selection purposes. Rather, we use this information to help us understand how well we are doing in our efforts to support artists and reach all communities in King County. If you do not wish to answer a question, please select the “decline to answer” option in response.

Statement of Interest

Write a statement (500 words or less) that addresses the following:

  • Tell us a bit about yourself, your creative practice, experience and aspirations as an artist.
  • Why are you interested in working on this project?
  • What would this opportunity offer you in terms of your own personal growth and artistic development?
  • Knowing that these three RapidRide lines will serve a large and diverse swath of King County, please share whether you have a personal connection to, interest or investment in any of the areas served by these lines (Seattle/Madison, Delridge, White Center, Burien, Renton, Kent, Auburn).
  • Optional: please reflect on a meaningful interaction you’ve had with a teacher or mentor. What did you gain through that interaction or ongoing relationship? How did it change or impact you or your creative pursuits?

Audio/video statement of interest (optional)

Applicants may supplement a written statement with an audio or video narrative statement (less than 2 minutes in length). Please include a Vimeo or YouTube link to this audio/video narrative statement within the body of written statement of interest. Ensure your video is not password protected OR include the password alongside the link. Applicants are NOT asked to submit a proposal as part of the application.


Two-page (maximum) current professional résumé plus one additional page with references (see instructions below). Keep the formatting as simple as possible. PDF is preferred; text (.txt) files will also be accepted.


Please attach one page to your résumé that lists the name, email address, and phone number of up to two references who can speak to your professional history, your work as an artist, or both. Briefly note how you know the person. We will only contact these references if you are selected and prior to artist selection notification.

Work Samples

You must submit 6 digital images of work samples to be eligible for consideration. We encourage you to submit work samples that best illustrate your qualifications for this opportunity, specifically 2-dimensional artworks in any medium that may translate well in this format.

    • Digital images: upload JPG files only; images must be 1920 pixels on the longest side, at least 72 dpi, and less than 2 MB in size.
    • The title of the artwork/project name, completion date, medium and dimensions are required fields. Each work sample requires a brief description (75 words or less for digital images) that includes the following information, if applicable: project location, commissioning agency, budget, project partners, photo credit, copyright owner, summary of the project scope, intention, and outcome.

5 Help

5 Help

Information Sessions/Application Workshops

Apr 21
Apr 23


If you have questions regarding the application, please contact:

Andy Le

If you have questions related to the project, please contact:

Laura Becker

Deadline: applications must be received no later than 4:00 pm PDT on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.