Portland Youth Dancers activate the cosmos

In collaboration with local choreographer, dance educator and writer Holly Taylor, Portland Youth Dancers recently activated Chris Miller’s Carousel Cosmos with movement. This performance kicks off our spring and summer partnerships with local education organizations.

Portland Youth Dance brought an additional layer of enchantment to the Carousel Cosmos installation by activating this public art sculpture with their dynamic movement performances. Their choreography, inspired by the themes of the artwork, transforms the space into a living canvas where dance and visual art intersect. Through their expressive movements, these talented young dancers brought to life the cosmic journey depicted in Chris Miller’s creation, engaging the audience in a multisensory experience that celebrates the intersection of art, dance, and the wonder of the universe.

Holly Taylor (she/they) is a dance educator, writer, and choreographer from Providence, RI. Her movement background includes modern, ballet, gaga, postmodern and site-specific composition, and various contemporary forms. She has trained with artists from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Trisha Brown Dance Company, and Urban Bush Women, among others, and has performed in original works by Matthew Rushing and Saar Harari. Her writing has been published in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art (MIT Press) and Yale Dance Theater Journal, and exhibited at AS220’s Resident Gallery. Holly received her B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU Tisch. She is currently based out of Portland, Maine. Photo by Duc Nguyen.

Request for Qualifications: TEMPOart 2025 Project Commission Due June 16


Request for Qualifications 

Public art opportunity in Portland, Maine
Commissioned by: TEMPOart 
Budget: $25,000
Open Date: May 13, 2024 
Commissioning Location: United States 
Geographic Eligibility: New England Resident 
Close Date: June 16, 2024 (11:59 PM) 

Brief Description 

We seek work that will be a catalyst for our mission to spark dialogue, build community, and inspire our collective imagination.

TEMPOart seeks artists, architects, designers, and landscape architects to design and realize a temporary outdoor public work of art to begin in June, 2025. The maximum budget is $25,000 (inclusive of artist fees and any associated travel). The RFQ deadline is June 16, 2024. 

Teams and Collectives are invited to apply but must identify a single person in the application who will represent the work of the group. 

TEMPOart’s work is to support temporary public art. TEMPOart’s objective is to support public art of two (2) years duration.

The installation will be located outdoors at the plaza of City Hall on Congress Street in Portland, ME.

Materials Requested 

TEMPOart asks those responding to this RFQ to submit the following information: 

  • A resume or CV, including a link to the artist’s website, if applicable – Photos or videos of up to 5 different pieces of previously completed, with a maximum of 3 detail shots per piece, including any outdoor public artworks. Please upload no more than 10 photos and/or videos in total. 
  • An Artist Statement of no more than 300 words (excluding spaces) to share why the artist is interested in the opportunity. 
  • Artists who may not have previously completed an outdoor public art project of this magnitude should use the Artist Statement to describe how they would meet this opportunity. Please include the outdoor artwork qualifications of any partners you are planning to work with. 

Next Steps and Timeline 

After an initial review of RFQ submissions, up to 4 artists will be selected to respond to a Request for Proposals. Artists participating in the RFP will be provided a $500 stipend. Selected artists should become familiar with Temporary Public Art Guidelines for the City of Portland, Maine. 

Below is a timeline for the selection process. Dates are subject to change. 

RFQ process closes – June 2024 
RFQ decisions communicated to Artists – July 2024 
RFP process – July – September 2024 
Presentations and final selection – September – October 2024 
Installation / activation – June 2025
Programming/events – June – October 2025

Diversity and Inclusion 

TEMPO welcomes participation in celebration of differences related to gender expression and identity, culture, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, physical ability, learning style, religion, occupation, nationality, immigration status, and socio-economic status. 

Expectations of the Selected Artist 

The selected Artist will be expected to participate in 2-3 events related to programming and/or fundraising during the period of November 2024 and October 2025. 

The selected Artist is solely responsible for the design, construction, installation, and removal of the artwork and for transportation and insurance related to the installation and the removal of the artwork. 

Budget Details 

The $25,000 budget can be used for design installation, de-installation, insurance, artist fees, administrative fees to obtain City approval, transportation, and any maintenance required over the course of the installation. 

Please direct questions about this RFQ to TEMPOart Interim Executive Director Jessica Muise at manager@tempoartmaine.org with “RFQ TEMPOart 2025” in the subject line.

TEMPOart installations featured in Visit Portland’s “25 Free Things to Do in Maine”

Public art installations transform the streets of Portland into an ever-changing gallery. Featured in Visit Portland’s “25 Free Things to Do in Maine,” TEMPOart collaborates with educational and cultural institutions to bring temporary art exhibits to the city. These installations, designed to provoke thought and inspire conversation, are displayed for one to two years, adding a dynamic and fresh element to Portland’s cultural scene.

Explore the creativity and community spirit that TEMPOart fosters through its innovative projects. For more details on current and upcoming installations, check out our site. And don’t miss the full list of amazing free activities in Greater Portland, including our feature in Visit Portland’s guide here.

The Myth Makers interviewed by Portland Press Herald

The Portland Press Herald recently interviewed Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein of The Myth Makers, the artist team behind TEMPOart’s 2024 commission Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People). We love this excerpt here from the interview sharing how a site visit inspired the piece that will be landing June 13, 2024.

Read the whole article “Meet the artists (and the egrets) coming to the Back Cove this summer” on Portland Press Herald or below.

How did you conceptualize this piece?

We always start every piece that we do with site visits. It’s really important for us to be connected to the site and make sure that whatever we decide to build is connected to the site. So we drove up on a beautiful day and hiked around the trail. It was in the fall, and it was really exciting to see the great egrets were in such abundance. It was kind of odd. We hadn’t seen that in a while, that many of them. We must have counted 10 or 15 of them. Of course, it was in the fall, and it must have been all the babies were out. But it was just delightful. We saw them and were just very intrigued. And we looked at the site, and it’s well located. The beauty of doing the great egrets is they’re white. They’ll be very visible against all sorts of surfaces, but they’ll also have that ephemeral, translucent quality that our sculptures have.

And we always try to attach an avatar, a person that somehow represents the extravagance of the bird or the unique qualities. … With the great egrets, it came to mind the couple that was the first couple to be married under the same sex law. What was really interesting about that was that law was enacted by the will of the people. The people refused to let it get smothered in the Legislature. … So they put it on a citizens petition, and it was put on the ballot.

The idea basically is a blending of the joyful dance of the great egret and the joyful dance of the great egret and the joyful response that society has when people are allowed to marry who they love.

Dodson: It’s a Portland, Maine, story. Public art, it often has a purpose. It’s not just decorative. The work we do allows us to often draw upon local stories and tell them or retell them or bring them to light in new ways, and that’s really important.”

Preparing for the birds

David Wade took these amazing photos of our special evening preparing for “Dancing for Joy” to land on Back Cove Trail in June 2024. Thank you for being catalysts for public art! We look forward to seeing you at the Community Opening Thursday June 13 from 5-6PM.

Announcing Dancing for Joy
Presentation by The Myth Makers

Performances by
Holly Taylor, Liz Mulkey, Kristen Stake, & Hannah Wasielewski
Choreography by Holly Taylor in collaboration with dancers

Media Partners
Portland Media Center, Portland Press Herald, Munjoy Hill News, David Wade

Better Yet Design, Loquat, Anna Siegel

Eclipse magic at the “Carousel Cosmos”

 Eclipse magic at Carousel Cosmos! 

 A celestial gathering unfolded as stargazers converged at the Western Promenade to witness the cosmic spectacle. 

 Thank you to everyone who joined us under the “Carousel Cosmos” by Chris Miller, making this moment truly unforgettable. 

TEMPOart featured on Maine Calling segment on Art and Community

A number of art exhibits taking place in Maine highlight the role that art can play in helping individuals and communities heal and grow stronger. We were thrilled that our public art commissions were featured in a conversation around the role of art in building community. In this Maine Calling segment, hear from artists about their work–and about current exhibits that have interactive components.

Pamela/Posey Moulton, immersive public artist whose work Beneath the Forest, Beneath the Sea has been featured at Payson Park in Portland, commissioned by TEMPOart called into the show to share her work and remind folks that Dancing For Joy by The Myth Makers will be featured in Portland’s Back Cove starting in June 2024; it will be a large installation of bamboo sculptures of egrets

“Carousel Cosmos” is preparing for the eclipse

We stand on the brink of an extraordinary event – the eclipse of April 8th. It’s a moment that beckons us to look beyond the mundane, to gaze upwards and ponder the mysteries of the universe. And what better way to prepare for this cosmic spectacle than by immersing ourselves in the enchanting world of Carousel Cosmos, a stunning commissioned piece by Chris Miller, brought to life by TEMPOart.

Nestled within the Western Promenade at West Street, Carousel Cosmos is more than just an art installation; it’s a portal to another realm, a miniature galaxy waiting to be explored. Miller’s vision transforms the familiar landscape into a cosmic playground, inviting visitors to embark on a journey of discovery. At the heart of this celestial carousel lies an elliptical walkway, encircling a galactic halo that draws you in with its mysterious gravitational pull. As you traverse the spiral paths, you’ll find yourself amidst spiral galaxy arms, racing polar bears, and sea monsters beckoning you towards adventure in distant mountains.

As you wander through Carousel Cosmos, you’ll encounter benches resembling fantastical local creatures – real and imagined, modern and prehistoric – carved, painted, and arranged as carousel animals. It’s a whimsical touch that adds to the magic of the experience, reminding us of the interconnectedness of all life forms across space and time.

Although not in the path of totality, Carousel Cosmos is inspiring our total eclipse journey! Where will you be on April 8?

Photo by Corey Templeton

Excepts from Chris Miller’s proposal to the City of Portland’s Public Art Committee for Carousel Cosmos.

TEMPOart fundraiser featured in Portland Press Herald

Thanks to Amy Paradyz for covering Catalyst 2024, a wonderful evening supporting public art!

The birds are coming.
That was the key message of TempoArt’s Catalyst fundraiser

Amy Paradyz, Portland Press Herald

“Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People)” Community Opening June 13

We are pleased to announce TEMPOart’s 2024-2025 temporary public art commission, Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People). Created by internationally renowned artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein of The Myth Makers, Dancing for Joy will be a large installation situated on Back Cove Trail and Park in Portland, ME for up to two years beginning June 2024.

A community “opening” for “Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People)” is planned for 5-6 p.m. June 13, with performances by Alejandro Graciano Music (rain date June 14).

Great Egrets are flamboyant and vivid. Each spring they grow extravagant plumes and leap with abandon to attract and impress a mate. They are remarkable birds that develop adoring relationships, gently sharing all nesting and child care duties.

This work will be a meeting place, a place for children to play in and run through. A glittering silver white and nearly 20 feet tall, it will be a beacon, visible from many views along the Back Cove trail.

Dancing for Joy is designed for all ages. The doorways are a variety of sizes. Which entry suits you? Can you dance your best show off prance through the display of the Dancing Great Egrets?

This installation is dedicated to the freedom to marry who you love. These sculptures celebrate the will of the people to democratically transform society. In 2012 Maine became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

Learn more about “Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People)”!