4Culture Grants + Calls

King County Metro RapidRide Expansion, I Line: Small But Mighty

Develop a series of small sculptures and related retaining wall treatments for the new RapidRide I Line corridor, which will connect the King County, WA cities of Renton, Kent, and Auburn via bus rapid transit.

1 About the Project

1 About the Project

  • Budget: $525,000 ($100,000 design, $425,000 implementation; budget is inclusive of travel and WA Sales/Use Tax).
  • Project term: September 2022—September 2026.
  • Eligibility: open to professional artists, working independently or as a team with a solid history of collaboration, that reside in the United States. Some travel to King County, WA is expected.
  • Application: submission of an online application is required for this opportunity.
  • Deadline: Wednesday, July 13, 2022 by 4:00 pm PDT. Please allow ample time to complete and upload your application; applications will not be accepted after the deadline.


4Culture, in partnership with King County Metro Transit, seeks a professional artist or artist team to develop a series of retaining wall treatments and small sculptures –unified by concept, scale, and (durable) media– for permanent installation at up to a dozen bus stations and adjacent points of interest along the new RapidRide I Line corridor, which will connect the King County, WA cities of Renton, Kent, and Auburn. The 17-mile alignment promises to serve a huge diversity of people and places and encompasses at least thirteen different language groups in its ridership.

This opportunity is about elevating local histories and cultures by telling a story that unfolds over space and time. Stations, where riders begin and end their journeys, provide unique environments for sculptural intervention. Each I Line station will be distinct – designed to accommodate specific needs and passenger volumes. Some will see more than 350 people during peak hours and feature amenities like shelters, benches, bike racks, signage, card readers, leaning rails, lighting, and more. They will be experienced up close, day after day by those using public transit and by passersby on foot, bike, and in vehicles in motion. How might little artworks add BIG moments of surprise and joy to these otherwise utilitarian places?

Nearby retaining walls, that will be constructed at the same time as the stations, offer possibilities for creative engagement as well. Complementary patterns, textures and/or imagery on these surfaces may enhance conceptual depth or help further narratives shaped by the sculptures.


Travelling past farmlands, strip malls, city centers, medical centers, transit centers, immigrant-owned small businesses, big box stores, schools, low-income housing developments, and seas of parking lots, Metro Transit’s RapidRide I Line will provide frequent and reliable bus rapid transit service to the historically underserved communities of Renton, Kent, and 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. Between 2009-2019, focus shifted to ephemeral art experiences, including a line-specific soundscape and mobile game, an award-winning, multi-lingual poetry program, Poetry on Buses, and development of a world-renowned mural corridor. In 2020, 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, Small but Mighty, was identified in the completed plan (see pages 74-75).

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.

For the I Line, set to launch in September 2026, Metro is designing stations with a range of features and amenities to meet different needs, based on anticipated use.

Client Background

King County Metro
4Culture Public Art
RapidRide Art Plan
Rapid Ride I Line

2 Are You Eligible?

2 Are You Eligible?


This opportunity is open to professional artists, working independently or as a team with a solid history of collaboration, that reside in the United States. Some travel to King County, WA is expected.

The selected artist or artist team must abide by King County Public Health and National COVID-19 protocols while working on this project.

Selection Criteria

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

  • Quality and strength of past work as demonstrated in the submitted application materials.
  • Experience working in the context of capital projects and in creating site-specific artwork, especially in outdoor environments.
  • Demonstrated aptitude in analysis of opportunities, constraints and resources.
  • Proven ability to collaborate with design professionals and community stakeholders.
  • Interest in working with King County Metro.
  • Availability to work both remotely and in King County, WA between September 2022 and September 2026.

Selection Process

The project artist(s) will be selected through an open call process. A five-person selection panel comprised of artists and arts professionals, community members, and RapidRide staff will review all submitted applications, identify finalists for interview, and recommend one artist or artist team for the project.

Finalists will be invited to a virtual project orientation and given the opportunity to ask questions directly to Metro and 4Culture staff prior to interviews. All interview questions will be provided in advance so that candidates feel well prepared.

The panel reserves the right to make no selection from the submitted applications.

3 Helping You Succeed

3 Helping You Succeed

Translation and Assistance

If you anticipate a barrier to your participation due to limited English writing ability, visual impairment, or would like to request assistance to access this application, please contact us at hello@4culture.org or 206-296-7580 or TTY 711.

Si anticipa una barrera para su participación debido a la capacidad limitada de escritura en inglés, discapacidad visual, o desea solicitar asistencia para acceder a esta aplicación, contáctenos en hello@4culture.org o 206-296-7580 o TTY 711.

如果您由于英语写作能力有限,视力障碍而希望参加比赛,或者希望获得协助来访问此应用程序,请通过hello@4culture.org或206-296-7580或TTY 711与我们联系。


If you have questions about the application, please contact:

Andy Le

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

Jordan Howland

Selina Hunstiger

4 Timeline

4 Timeline

Selection Timeline*

Application deadline: Wednesday, July 13, 2022 by 4:00 pm PDT
First panel, artist selection: week of July 25, 2022
Finalist orientation**: week of August 1, 2022
Second panel, interviews**: week of August 8, 2022
Applicants notified: August 15, 2022

Project Timeline*

Contracting and onboarding: September—October 2022
Design development: November 2022—January 2024
Design approval: February 2024
Implementation: March 2024—August 2026
I Line launch: September 2026

5 How to Apply

5 How to Apply

Artists and artist teams must apply via 4Culture’s online system. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.


Contact information for yourself or all members of your team.

Statement of Interest

500 words or less explaining why you are interested in this project and how you might approach the opportunity given your experience. Consider the selection criteria. If applying as a team, please explain how you work together. Applicants are asked NOT to submit a proposal at this time.


Two-page (maximum) current professional résumé. Keep the formatting as simple as possible. PDF is preferred; text (.txt) files will also be accepted. Teams should upload one document with two-page résumés for each team member.

Work Samples

10 work samples. Submit samples that best illustrate your qualifications for this opportunity. Artists whose practice is better described via multimedia may submit up to 2 of the 10 samples as audio or video files, with a cumulative run-time of up to 3 minutes. If applying as a team, the team may submit no more than 10 work samples in total.

    • Digital images: submit up to 10 JPG files, 1920 pixels on the longest side (suggested), at least 72 dpi, and less than 2 MB in size. No composites.
    • Audio and video files: submit up to 2 audio or video samples if these media relate to your art practice (to show kinetic artwork, gradations of light, sound or media-based art, etc.). Audio samples must be submitted via SoundCloud with the specific URL (e.g. soundcloud.com/29523) noted on the Work Sample Upload page. Video samples must be submitted via Vimeo or YouTube, with the specific URL (e.g. vimeo.com/2992575) noted on the Work Sample Upload page. All submissions must be publicly accessible (password protected files will not be accepted). Timed excerpts are preferred, but longer samples may be submitted with start and stop times noted at the beginning of the descriptive text. Cumulative run time must not exceed 3 minutes.

Each work sample requires a brief description (75 words or less). Descriptions should include the following information, if applicable: location, commissioning agency, budget, partners, photo credit, copyright owner, and summary of the scope. Clearly articulate roles and responsibilities when sharing collaborative projects.

Applications must be received no later than 4:00 pm PDT on Wednesday, July 13, 2022.