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UrbanScreen Call for Proposals


Illuminate Surrey’s UrbanScreen with your digital, interactive art!

Surrey Art Gallery invites proposals for UrbanScreen
Submission Deadline: Friday, June 16, 2017 (PST)

Imagined by artists and built by the City, Surrey’s UrbanScreen is an advertising-free outdoor public art venue for digital media art projections. UrbanScreen is Canada’s largest, permanent, non-commercial screen and presents digital artwork by regionally and internationally significant artists.

UrbanScreen is used as an offsite venue by the Surrey Art Gallery, with the Gallery commissioning new works for exhibition at this site. Surrey Art Gallery invites proposals for site-specific and responsive artworks for exhibition on Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre’s west façade at 13458 107A Avenue in Surrey. Exhibitions appear 30 minutes after sunset, and conclude at midnight.


Please include the following information in your submission:

  • A one-page introduction to your proposal.
  • A hyperlink to a full proposal of the project, including a longer description and a rendering of the artwork, located on your website.
  • A hyperlink to your website, which should include your exhibition history, samples of previously completed work (images, videos, recordings), and information about you and/or your team (links to other partner websites with documentation).

Proposals are to be submitted via an email no larger than 1 MB. For more information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below (which will be updated as we receive questions) and Venue Specifications sections.

Submit proposals with the subject line “UrbanScreen Proposal” to

Proposals will be received by Surrey Art Gallery and will be reviewed by curatorial staff with support of the UrbanScreen Advisory Committee. All proposals will be acknowledged.

Frequently Asked Questions

An "Updated Frequently Asked Questions" document will be added when we receive new questions.


Q: Can I propose a single evening event?

A: This call is for exhibitions of three months or longer.


Q: When would the exhibition occur?

A: We are currently considering programming opportunities from 2018 to 2020.

Q: What needs to be included in the proposal?

A: - A one-page introduction to your project, answering questions such as:

  • What is the theme of your artwork?
  • What equipment and processes would be engaged in the realization of the artwork (i.e. MaxMSP with sensor/webcam interface, video player with sound)?
  • Is it interactive?
  • Is the artwork complete now?
  • Has it been exhibited before (include visual samples)? Is it yet to be created?
  • Do you have resources to complete work within our exhibition timeframe?
  • What is the length of time of the artwork (i.e. 30 minutes or continually processing)?
  • What is the imagery used in your artwork?

- A hyperlink to your website, where a more detailed proposal, expanding upon the details in your introduction, is located.

- Links to additional support material located on your website. Online support material is recommended to include: your exhibition history, samples of previously completed work (images, videos, recordings), information about your team (links to other partner websites with documentation), and rendering of the proposed artwork.

Q: Who reviews the proposals?

A: Surrey Art Gallery curatorial staff (review and make final decision) and UrbanScreen Advisory Committee (make recommendations to staff regarding themes or direction of UrbanScreen programming).

Q: When will a decision be made?

A: Proposals received by the deadline will be reviewed and a shortlist will be made within six weeks (no later than June 16). Only shortlisted artists will be contacted by staff for further information and discussion. We will post online when we have completed the shortlist. If we have not been in communication with you prior to this, you have not been shortlisted. You are welcome to submit a proposal again when the next call is announced.

Q: What fees are available for artists?

A: A fee of $7000 is offered to artists for all services for exhibition at UrbanScreen. This includes payment in installments for: exhibition fee, installation time, presence at the opening, response to the media (i.e. interviews), and limited license for use of images of artwork for promotion of the exhibition by the Gallery.

Q: What other financial support is provided for the exhibition?

A: The Gallery pays for marketing, opening reception, documentation, and maintenance of the projectors and system architecture.

Q: What technical support is provided to artists?

A: Our contractor will schedule a site visit during the exhibition installation to: colour correct the projection (likely fresh bulbs), test the positioning of the artwork on the wall (e.g., matching the location of the windows), and test the connection of the artwork data files to the network and computers controlling the projectors.

Artists will be provided with access to a live online surveillance camera view of the projection wall to check the performance of their artwork remotely. No technical support is provided to artists for the production or debugging of their work. Artworks need to be tested and demonstrated as complete and robust for continual operation for up to 6 hours per evening continually for the length of exhibition prior to connection to the UrbanScreen network.

Q: What is the media and sound capacity of the venue?

A: Exhibitions have included video (with or without audio), animations, interactive projections (e.g., using sensors to detect movement or presence, webcams to capture image and trigger both/either image and audio response), and digital media (e.g., generative content created using MaxMSP or other programming code or software). The venue also has an installed sound infrastructure. Sound is not required for any exhibition.

Q: Does the artwork need to be interactive?

A: Interactivity is not required for any exhibition, but is encouraged, given that an interactive kiosk was installed adjacent to the screen in Fall of 2016. This kiosk allows for further dimensions of interactivity in the artwork.

Q: Does the venue have any limitations?

A: Artworks are to be complete prior to installation, and not require adjustments or changes throughout the exhibition. At this time, due to limited bandwidth, artworks are to be self-contained, and not be dependent on connection to the internet (e.g., for continually downloading content from web files). All windows have interior blinds and external vinyl on glazing to reflect projections. However, windows are apparent (illuminated) when the gymnasium lights are on. Some windows have red glazing.

Q. Does the venue have any interesting characteristics and what is the context?

A: Immediately south of the Screen is a skate park (completed 2011) that attracts skateboarders and BMX riders from around Metro Vancouver. This park is very popular, and is illuminated at night and includes a cantilevered roof covering a bowl. The Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre offers a range of programming and houses a youth centre, preschool, and seniors' centre. It is increasingly used by families as well as many new Canadians, some of whom are refugees. Across the street from Chuck Bailey, at 1066 City Parkway, two cultural organizations (Streetrich Hip Hop Society and the Royal Canadian Theatre Company) are currently preparing to take up residence and provide programming to local youth. Other societies and organizations operating nearby include the Surrey Food Bank, Umoja Compassion Society, the Whalley Ball Park (Whalley Little League), and the BC Lions CFL headquarters. UrbanScreen is a block from Gateway SkyTrain station, and is within Surrey’s City Centre neighbourhood. It is also within walking distance of the SFU Surrey campus, City Centre Library and City Hall and plaza. Content shown on the venue is constantly seen by residents in a cluster of apartment towers. These towers house a demographically diverse community including athletes, professionals, new Canadians, and families.

Q: Are there any limitations on content?

A: The venue is connected to a community recreation centre, and is immediately above a preschool playground. Therefore content is to be child appropriate (no nudity, violence etc.). Surrey Art Gallery reserves the right to determine what and when artwork is not appropriate for this venue and requires time to view and review all content prior to committing to its presentation.

The venue can be viewed from SkyTrain between Gateway and Surrey Central stations and is highly visible to those in the surrounding high-rise residential towers. Content is recommended to anticipate and be appropriate to diverse communities. Artists are to have copyright agreements for all content used in their artwork.

Q: Will proposals from youth, teachers and undergraduate students be considered?

A: Yes. We will explore with our UrbanScreen Advisory Committee an opportunity for these artists.

Q: What if I am a curator and want to propose an exhibition of works by multiple artists?

A: Proposals of curated exhibitions are welcome, as well as proposals directly from individual artists or artist teams. The proposal needs to address how the exhibition can be formed as a single file that can be presented at the venue (e.g., as a sequence of videos by different artists). Also, content will need to be agreed upon prior to an exhibition agreement.

Q: Can a proposal for a touring exhibition be submitted?

A: Proposals can be for travelling exhibitions, or from a travelling exhibition. Artworks can have an exhibition history (have been premiered elsewhere).

Q: What if I am not a resident in Canada?

A: Proposals from international artists are welcome.

Q: Is other funding possible?

A: Letters of support for proposals by artists and curators for the purposes of grant applications and other artist/curator-driven fundraising initiatives can be negotiated for those proposals shortlisted for exhibition consideration.

Q: What equipment does the artist provide?

A: It depends on the project. Most media files have performed on our equipment, or we have been able to load the required software into the system. If there is extraordinary or specialized equipment, we may require a loan.

Q: What is the estimated time to install an artwork?

A: Your artwork should be complete and ready to test and run on our network for at least two months. After a meeting to assess needs, we estimate it will take two evenings (7 to 10pm), with the first evening to connect the equipment and view the presentation, and the second evening to adjust any outputs if necessary, weather permitting. Artworks are usually ready three to six months in advance.

Current Venue Specifications

Projectors: Two Barco HDX-20 projectors with 20,000 lumen xenon bulbs.

Projection Dimensions: The final projection image is approximately 121’ (36.88m) across and up to 35.5’ (10.82m) tall, measured from the bottom of the wall to the wooden roof beam. It measures 3600 pixels across and 1080 pixels high (if the source is played directly from the Hippo computer) or, when using the MacPro as a computer source, the resolution is 1920 x 576.

Note that artists can reference files developed for anticipating the location of the windows (see two examples below).

Mask 1 (Ai. New window) created by Flicker Art Media (Aleksandra Dulic and Kenneth Newby) for Transience (2011)

Grid 1 (Xls. New window) created by Urban Visuals (Konstantinos Mavromichalis and Nathan Whitford) for Fiction Façade (2011)

Internet: Shaw SOHO basic supports basic operations of the projector’s network and remote viewing cameras. The bandwidth is not sufficient to support streaming media, or online contribution to a database. Artworks need to anticipate being stand-alone.

Computers: Hardware: Apple Mac Pro Tower Liquid Cooled, 8 GB memory/ram, IP video card; Software: Final Cut Pro; iworks. Final Cut Pro, Photoshop and PowerPoint

This computer operates the cameras and projectors. It is not recommended for processing content delivered to the projectors (e.g., heavy processing demand can compromise the operation of the network).

An ASUS G11 (2015) desktop computer is also available for rendering memory-intensive 3D graphics and applications. It features a 3.3GHz quad-core i5 processor, 12GB of DDR4 RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, 1TB hard drive, 128GB SATA SSD, Bluetooth 4.0, 10/100/1000 , 10 USB ports, 6-in-1 card reader, SuperMulti DVD RW optical drive, and runs on Windows 10 64-bit.

Other computers or software may be acquired as needed to support processing of the artwork files.

A Hippo Amba Video Processor channels video input from a computer source to the projectors.

A technician contracted by the City to support the projector infrastructure will be responsible for loading the artist’s content file anticipating that the artwork is created as “plug and play” and testing the output.

Webcams: One webcam is being used for monitoring the projection and is aimed at projection wall (access to the address for the webcam video is limited to staff and artist(s) due to bandwidth limitations and would not be accessible online by the public). A second webcam can be added as part of an artwork if/when needed for creating a trigger for interactive projects (e.g., to view the SkyTrain passing or visitor movements).

Sound: Outdoor narrow speakers are located next to each projector for local sound broadcasting. Note these speakers are in mono-format.

FM Broadcast: It is possible to broadcast within a limited range on an FM signal from the content player/computer to audiences receiving it on devices such as MP3 players and car stereos. Note: regulations may apply to such broadcasts

Kiosk: Installed in Fall 2016 to increase the capacity for artists to create interactive artworks, a kiosk interface located in the Chuck Bailey Parking lot is available. The kiosk has been used to house a touch-screen, motion sensor, and a Microsoft Kinect camera. The kiosk is wired to connect with the computer running the UrbanScreen software inside the Chuck Bailey Centre. Artists can propose installations which may require the loan of equipment to be installed in the kiosk.