Apply Now for Art on the River 2023-24

The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs is now accepting sculpture submissions through 11:59 p.m. Friday, April 21, 2023 for the 2023-24 Art on the River sculpture exhibit along the Mississippi Riverwalk in the Port of Dubuque.

Art on the River Logo

Illuminate & Innovate

"Illuminate & Innovate" has been selected as the theme for the 2023-24 exhibit by the Art on the River planning committee and is described as follows:

"As the Key City, Dubuque, Iowa is a community that has historically served as a beacon of progress, forward momentum, and a bright tomorrow. Whether innovating in the industries of shot, lumber and lead, moving America by water, wheel or rail, or reflecting deeply to collectively address social issues, the Dubuque community strives to light the way to a future that is sustainable and resilient. Our community of the future is one that is inclusive, equitable, connected, active and vibrant.

With that vision in mind, the City of Dubuque welcomes and encourages submissions for existing and/or proposed 3D public art works that reflect upon and embody the theme and ideas of innovation and illumination. Special consideration may be given for creative works that interact, emanate, or otherwise play with natural or generated light. With this exhibit, we hope to highlight our successes and aspirations as a community and shine a light on the future!” 

Artists are encouraged to submit proposals for existing sculptures as well as concept proposals for new sculptural work for this year’s exhibit. Both permanent and semi-permanent/temporary works will be considered. Successful applications will propose sculptures that draw upon themes of illumination and innovation.

Program Details

Each year up to 11 sculptures are chosen for exhibit at highly visible locations along the picturesque Mississippi Riverwalk. A panel of jurors will review all applications submitted and make recommendations to the City of Dubuque's Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission which advises City Council on the final selections. Chosen artists will be notified in late May 2023 with sculptures to be installed by Friday, August 4, 2023.

To Apply

Submission must be made online via the Slideroom application form. There is no fee to apply. Artists may submit up to 3 applications; a separate application must be submitted for each sculpture. A preview of the full application is available on the application portal.

Required Artist Information

  • Artist’s bio and resume/CV
  • Brief statement or explanation of the proposed sculpture and other information related to the materials, installation needs, and potential siting
  • Photos or renderings of multiple views of the proposed sculpture (minimum of 2, maximum of 4 images)
  • 2 Professional references

Artist Benefits

  • $1,800 honorarium ($600 upon agreement execution, $600 upon installation, and $600 upon removal)
  • A $1,000 Best of Show chosen by the juror panel, awarded at Grand Opening in August 2023
  • A $200 People’s Choice as voted on through July 2024, awarded at Grand Opening of next exhibit in August 2024
  • The opportunity to interact directly with the public for about 2 hours at the Grand Opening event on Friday evening, August 4, 2023
  • Up to $200 in lodging and travel support related to install or attending of Grand Opening event
  • Sales opportunity for exhibited sculpture


Submissions will be evaluated on artistic merit, creativity, public safety, appropriateness to theme, and durability in the outdoors. Work must be of the highest-quality design incorporated into its construction and be able to withstand adverse weather conditions (high winds, rain, heat, snow and freezing temperatures) and an unsupervised general audience. Unstable, fragile, dangerous, publicly inappropriate, or small, lightweight works will not be accepted.


Selected artists will be responsible for delivering, installing, and removing their work of art, working closely with City of Dubuque staff. The City of Dubuque can provide installation assistance in the form of person power and some onsite transportation or moving equipment such as forklifts and cranes; needs should be detailed appropriately in the application. 

Works must be installed between July 31-August 4, 2023 in advance of the public reception on Friday, August 4, 2023.

De-install must take place between July 22-26, 2024. Early pick-up of the work is not permitted.

Insurance and Sales

The City shall maintain insurance coverage on the work while on display at Art on the River for vandalism, theft, or damage. Insurance coverage is not provided on any works of art while in transit to or from Art on the River.

Artworks are encouraged to be for sale and will remain on display for the time frame noted in the Artist Agreement Form. The City of Dubuque will coordinate all financial transactions relating to the sales of artwork. During the course of the year, special efforts will be made to promote the impact of public art to encourage purchase the sculptures. The City will receive 25% of the sale price of any sculptures sold during or as a result of the show, with proceeds supporting the long-term funding for the Art on the River program. Any unsold artwork must be removed by the artist at the end of the exhibition period.

Project Timeline

  • Monday, March 13, 2023 - Call for applications opens
  • Friday, April 21, 20223 - Applications due by 11:59 p.m. CST
  • Week of May 22, 2023 - Artists notifications sent via email
  • July 31-August 4, 2023 - Delivery and installation of sculptures by artists
  • August 4, 2023 from 5-7 p.m. - Grand Opening Reception
  • July 22-26, 2024 - Removal of Work

Contact Us

  1. Arts & Cultural Affairs
    Phone: 563.690.6059

    Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.