Climate Resilience Through Art

Colorful illustration of trees


The Montgomery County Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) invite community-based artists and arts collectives living in the Montgomery County area to submit applications for Healing Art, a sustainability-themed Artist-In-Residence project within the County’s Department of Health and Human Services building, located at 1301 Piccard Drive in Rockville.

The selected artist/team will engage with staff and community participants through hands-on art making activities taking place over the course of 6 months with a focus on skill sharing and collaboration. Artists may work in any visual media that engages and/or is a result of working with the collective staff and constituents at the facility (EG mural, mosaic, collage, etc.). The resulting visual artwork will be displayed on walls or other surfaces inside the DHHS building at 1301 Piccard Drive, and should beautify the space, represent its creators, and encourage thoughtful engagement on themes of community climate resilience.
Application Deadline Extension: Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 5 p.m.
Eligibility: Applicants must reside in Montgomery County and be at least 18 years old. See below for more detailed eligibility requirements.

Call to Action

Climate Resilience through Art arose out of a shared desire to:

  • Strengthen the ties of community in the face of increasing climate hazards by sparking reflection on, and building community resilience among County residents most vulnerable to the impacts from, climate change.
  • Build social support and facilitate healing in difficult times.
  • Promote an environmental ethic and nourish community connection to the natural world to improve physical and emotional health.
  • Promote a sense of agency on the part of DHHS clients.

The art installation(s) should complement the environmentally themed art already on loan from AHCMC, further enhance the current aesthetics of DHHS’ most visited site and promote a positive relationship between DHHS clients, staff and the broader community. The project will provide a unique and engaging approach to informing community member clients and staff about climate resilience and facilitating a greater sense of clients’ connection with the natural world.

Download a PDF copy of the RFQ


Department of Health and Human Services (1301 Piccard Dr.)

Located in Rockville, MD, the 1301 Piccard Drive facility serves as a hub for vital programs and public interface between social services, child welfare, domestic violence, the 24-hour crisis center, and other services. This represents the core of vulnerable persons in the community. Simultaneously, 1301 Piccard Dr. is one of the County’s oldest buildings, largest landscapes, and houses one of the County’s largest onsite workforces.  This presents a significant opportunity for an artist or team to support many clients, as well as staff, to improve morale, retention, information sharing and trust-building and community resilience.

Latino Health Initiative (LHI)

As part of DHHS, LHI’s mission is to improve the quality of life of Latinos living in Montgomery County by contributing to the development and implementation of an integrated, coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent health wellness system that supports, values, and respects Latino families and communities.  LHI recognizes that the health impacts of climate change disproportionately affect vulnerable and disadvantaged communities – including Montgomery County Latinos – by undermining the quality, stability, and access to basic life necessities including air, water, food, shelter, and security.  LHI is committed to developing community capacity to confront climate change.

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) 

DEP is sharply focused on climate change and its disproportionate impacts on the County’s most vulnerable community members.  Although all County residents will feel the impacts of climate change, certain groups will feel these impacts more acutely.  The County’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) focuses in on this “climate gap” in which certain segments of the population, such as people of color and low-income communities, are disproportionately affected by climate hazards, and have the least resources and less ability to anticipate, cope with and recover from them.  The contours of this project are specifically referenced in the CAP (see P-8, page 258: Engage County Artists through Public Art Installations to Raise Awareness, Discussion, and Action on Climate Change). 

Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) 

AHCMC, in partnership with the community, cultivates and supports excellence in the arts and humanities, expands access to cultural expression, and contributes to economic vitality in the region.  

Since 1976, AHCMC has been the County’s designated local arts agency. Through its programs and services, AHCMC provides the infrastructure and support necessary to maintain a robust creative community that includes over 500 cultural organizations and 2,000 artists and scholars. AHCMC annually distributes over $5 million in grants to organizations and individuals to help fund enriching cultural activities in our County. Funding is provided by the Montgomery County Government, the Maryland State Arts Council, corporations, organizations and individuals. 

AHCMC manages the Public Art Trust, which consists of the County’s existing collection of public artworks, the commissioning of new works in collaboration with County agencies, communities and the private sector, and the advancement of the field of public art through publications and training. The Trust’s work is guided by the Public Art Roadmap and the Public Art Trust Guidelines. 

About the Project

Project Goals

  • The project will engage community and staff participants in a collaborative art-making process through hands-on activities and discussion with lead artist(s).
  • This project will explore ideas of connecting community members to their environment and each other.  The artist will work with the community to help identify themes, interests, concerns, etc. that will then be brought forth in the artwork.
  • The artist will engage both DHHS clients and staff in community building and art-making workshops. These workshops will culminate in the installation of 2-3 environmentally themed, non-permanent artworks within 1301 Piccard Drive.
  • The resulting visual artwork(s) should beautify the space, contribute to a positive environment for clients and staff, and inspire engagement with themes of community climate resilience.
  • There are many sites within the building where the art might be installed for non-permanent display (EG lobbies, stairwells, etc.). Artists are encouraged to tour 1301 Piccard Drive in order to assess options. See below for more information about tours as well as a public information session.
All engagements and workshops will be hosted onsite at 1301 Piccard Drive in the ground floor conference room, which can hold up to 50 people at a time. Maximum event participation is 200 people across 4-5 event dates/time windows. Volunteer staff and DHHS representatives will support the artist’s facilitation of each event.

Artist Scope of Work

Over the course of their residency, the awarded artist/team will be expected to:
  • Consult with DHHS staff to understand client interests and challenges, and how that might be expressed in the project. Considerations for language barriers and intellectual/emotional intelligence of participants should be reflected in the approach. Translation services are available through Montgomery County government.
  • Offer a multi-session training to client-residents that facilitates the creation of a final project design. The design must also be approved by AHCMC, DHHS, DEP, along with any additional partner departments and the Public Arts Trust.
  • Purchase, rent or otherwise procure all materials, supplies and equipment necessary for the creation of the artwork.
  • Execute artwork in a manner consistent with the approved design, including installation at 1301 Piccard Drive for display.
  • Protect against damage to nearby surfaces while creating and installing art and restore work site to pre-installation conditions.

Prospective Themes

The County is currently working with individuals experiencing homelessness and other front-line populations to understand how they’re impacted by environmental issues. Prospective themes arising from these engagements include:
  • Dichotomy between “Inside” and “Outside:” managing housing insecurity and the long-term impacts of one’s understanding of self and others through the lens of existing “Inside” or “Outside.” Individuals feel a sense of community with others who, like them, are “Inside” or “Outside,” reinforcing a barrier between those with and without secure housing.
  • Temperature, Precipitation, and Transportation: constituents express that experiencing homelessness comes with a great deal of short-term migration, as well as multiple lengthy multi-modal commutes on a daily or weekly basis to account for basic needs. Travel is made more difficult by environmental hazards and weather conditions that might be overlooked by those with stable housing.
  • Our Shared Personhood: lack of access to stable housing can socially and internally strip people of their personhood and dignity. Aside from housing status, however, we are all people with our own complex first-person experience. The homeless population is just as important, valuable, and deserving of care and dignity.  

Project Budget

The residency includes an all-inclusive honorarium stipend of $18,000 to the selected artist/team. This covers all artist fees, fabrication/production costs, art-making materials, meeting costs, documentation, transportation, insurance, and any other costs associated with the residency project.

Up to four finalists will be selected from the RFQ submissions to develop proposals for the residency. Each finalist will receive a $500 honorarium for developing their proposal and presenting it to the selection panel.

Please Note: The selected artist(s) will be required to carry general liability insurance for the duration of the project. The project will run for a maximum of six months with an expected completion date in June 2024.

Artist Selection

Eligibility Criteria
To be considered for this project, applicants must:
  • Reside in Montgomery County, MD with a verifiable mailing address in Montgomery County (P.O. boxes not accepted as proof of residency);
  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Not be enrolled as a full-time student;
  • Be a practicing artist with demonstrated history of creating work;
  • Be able to provide a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) prior to undertaking activities.

Artist Selection Process

Phase One: RFQ
Interested artists and teams are invited to submit their materials (see “How To Apply” below) in response to this RFQ by Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 5 p.m.. Artists are encouraged to tour the facility in order to create better informed proposals; see below for tour availability. Submitted materials will be reviewed by a community-based selection panel, which will then invite up to four artists/team finalists to develop and submit proposals for the residency project.

Phase Two: Finalist Proposals
The selected finalists will have six weeks to prepare a proposal for the community workshops and final artwork design process before presenting them to the selection panel via Zoom. During this time, they will be scheduled to tour the facility and gain deeper understanding about the site and project. Each finalist/team will each receive a $500 honorarium for their efforts.

Following presentations, the selection panel will award the residency project to one artist/team, based on their submitted materials, to develop and execute a project in collaboration with the staff and clients of the Department of Health & Human Services.

Artist Selection Criteria

The selection panel will consider the following criteria in selecting artists:
  • Interest and demonstrated track record in community engagement;
  • Familiarity with materials, supplies and processes typical in creating; installations with similar budgets; 
  • Experience presenting work to the public, through public art, a public installation, or a thematic exhibition;
  • Experience working in collaborative situations with project stakeholders, artists, arts administrators, curators and producers;
  • Ability to complete work within required timeframes;
  • Clarity of project proposal and conceptual approach.

Equity & Inclusion 

With the acknowledgement and understanding that access to resources has been historically limited for certain groups of people, AHCMC is committed to cultural equity within all funding activities and to serving communities that have been traditionally underrepresented in mainstream funding, discourse, leadership, and resource allocation including, but not limited to, Black, Indigenous, Native American, Latinx, Chicanx, Arab, MENASA (Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian), Asian, Pacific Islander, and other communities of color, socio-economically disadvantaged communities, differently abled individuals and/or people with disabilities, and Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual constituents. Artists in these communities are highly encouraged to apply. 

Public Art Guidelines

The Montgomery County Public Art Guidelines provide the Public Arts Trust, the Public Art Review Panel, County agencies, developers and their consultants, and artists with a consistent set of goals, policies and procedures — grounded in public art best practices and thirty years of experience in Montgomery County — for expanding and maintaining the Collection. Click Here to view and download the guidelines.

Wednesday, November 15 at 5 p.m. Application Deadline
November 2023    Up to Four Finalists Invited to Submit Proposals
Nov/Dec 2023  Proposal Development
January 2024    Panel Presentations
January 2024  One Artist Awarded Residency Contract
January 2024      Residency begins
All residency and project activities must be completed by June 2024.

How to Put Together an Application  

Application Materials  

 Interested artists should submit: 
  • An online application with the artist's name, contact information, and the following materials:
  • A CV or resume (up to 2 pages), formatted as an MS Word  document or PDF 
  • A current artist statement
  • A short narrative response to each of the following questions: 
  • What is your artistic and personal interest in the project? 
  • What is your interest and approach to involving community in your artistic projects? Describe any past experience you may have as a teaching artist and/or in collaborating with community participants.
  • Up to 10 images of past completed work that you consider relevant to this project - See guidelines below  
  • A description for each of the images provided. Please include the following information: Image Name, Artist’s Name; Title of Artwork, Location, Date of Completion / Presentation, Dimensions, Medium / Materials, Budget, Brief Description 

Guidelines for Submitting Images

  • There should be a maximum of ten images from the artist.  
  • Artist images should show completed work indicative of the artist’s practice, illustrating the artist’s conceptual interests and the media in which the artist works. Projects may have been created for a gallery, private collection or public space, and can be temporary, but overall should give an indication of the artist’s conceptual strengths and ability to successfully create work in the media that will likely be used in this project. 

Please submit images as individual JPEG files. Do not include them in a Word or Acrobat document. The images must be no more than 300 dpi and no larger than 1024 x 768 pixel resolution. Each image must be unlocked and downloadable for viewing. Each JPEG file must be titled with the artist’s name and number that corresponds to the annotated image list. File name example: JonesJane001, JonesJane002. Please submit the image list as a DOC file, not an Acrobat document. 

How to Submit an Application

Submissions will be accepted electronically via online application form.  AHCMC will acknowledge receipt of all complete submissions.  

For Assistance in Applying  

Artists who have questions about how to prepare an application or any of the required submission materials should email [email protected]

Attend an Optional Info Session

Artists are encouraged to attend an informational session over Zoom to review the RFQ with DHHS staff and learn more about the project.

Please register and join an information session on Thursday, October 26 from 3-4 p.m.

Optional Visit Before Applying


Artists interested in applying are strongly encouraged to come for a guided tour so they can experience the space, the clients, etc. Tours will be available to schedule until October 27, and will be limited to 15 people each. To schedule a tour, contact: [email protected] with subject line “Visit Piccard”. Requests must be received at least 5 days in advance of requested tour date, and are subject to operational capacity.
Tours will take place at 1301 Piccard Drive, Rockville, MD 20850.


Elbereth Lunn, LCSW-C
Services to End/Prevent Homelessness
Department of Health and Human Services
[email protected]

Flannery Winchester, Public Art Program Manager
[email protected]


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Healing Art,