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Light In the Forest

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Request for Proposals for Light in the Forest Installations

Cincinnati Nature Center is seeking an artist(s) to create site–specific original light installations as part of the 2022 Light in the Forest holiday event. This opportunity is open to professional light installation artists, visual artists, and groups or businesses with experience in light installation work and projection mapping.

Project awards ranging from $1,000-$10,000 may be provided to each selected artist per installation or a combination of installations. For light installations, we ask you to submit a concept proposal, supporting images, budget, additional support needed from Cincinnati Nature Center, artist statement and bio, and 3-5 samples of past works.

In addition to the selected artist installations, the Nature Center sets up all path and auxiliary lighting, additional installations, a decorative historic home, music, and a holiday shopping experience.

The application deadline is June 1, 2022, 5:00 pm.

Click here for the full RFP and submission instructions. 

About Light in the Forest

December 2022, for 25 nights

Light in the Forest is a winter walking tour of seasonal lights reflecting a theme of peace, nature, and contemplation. The 1.2-mile-long illuminated trail will lead you past enchanting ponds, fields, and woodland areas This unique display will include, artistic light installations, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping, and tours of the historic Krippendorf Lodge. We expect to welcome over 30,000 guests to this community event. Being a nonprofit organization, the revenue we receive from this event helps to support our mission of Inspiring Conservation.

About Cincinnati Nature Center

Nature is for everyone. That is the foundation of all of our work at Cincinnati Nature Center.

Each year, we welcome close to 300,000 nature enthusiasts from around the region and beyond to explore the 1,800 acres of forests, prairies, streams, ponds, and wetlands that make up our two locations—Rowe Woods and Long Branch Farm & Trails.

Because each person's connection to nature can be deeply personal, we offer programs, volunteer opportunities, clubs, events, and more that provide opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to engage with nature at their own pace and within their own interests.

For children, we offer lots of opportunities for nature play, exploration, and discover through specific programming, school field trips, camps, and our preschool and K-2 Nature Schools.

But it's not just about what we offer to people. We work to protect and care for our land and its more than 800 species of plants and wildlife. Through research and education, we work to protect land and wildlife within our boundaries while educating visitors, members, and neighbors on what they can do to help in their own yards, neighborhoods, and communities. With a passionate team of staff and volunteers, we strive to improve visitors’ experiences while keeping our focus on protecting this haven for all of its inhabitants.

Project Intent

The vision is to create unique outdoor light experiences along the 1.2-mile-long, handicap accessible walking trail. It is intended to blend with nature. This site-specific artwork can include:

  • Enhancements to the fields, forests, ponds, and trails using lights and reflection.
  • Highlight the importance of the Cincinnati Nature Center values and the environment.
  • Highlight the natural features found any time of year along the trails, water, forests, and fields of the Nature Center.
  • Provide excitement and interest for the community as a whole.
  • Artist may submit more than one installation of more than one area.

Abstract whimsical and/or color images/projections are welcome and encouraged in order to take the visitor to a more magical place. A collaboration with the natural elements found along the trail is highly encouraged (such as ponds, trees, fields).

Installations must be able to withstand large temperature and weather fluctuations include snow, sleet, rain sun and wind for the entire duration of the event.

Art space is limited with limited access to electricity. All artists will work directly with Ryan Maloney, the Nature Center’s facility manager to optimize potential placements of installation and their electric capacity. This may include the use of generators.

You will be working with the Nature Center’s facility team to ensure installations are safely displayed and secured. The facility’s team will be responsible for turning on and shutting down your installation nightly. If the installation needs repair, the artist is expected to be onsite to make the repairs necessary within 24 hours.

Ground space is limited and will require the selected artist(s) to consider the site’s limitations and the art element placement previously determined by the site coordinator.

Criteria for Selection

  • This request for proposal is open to all interested artists.
  • Appropriateness of the artist’s medium, style, and previous professional experience as they relate to the art goals and opportunities in this project.
  • Experience with projects of similar scale and scope, including familiarity with outdoor, weather-resistant art displays.
  • All displays must last the entire Light in the Forest season December 1-31. All artist must be accessible throughout the month for possible repairs to their installation(s).

Application Submission Procedure

  1. Project Description – provide a brief overview of the installation including a description of how the installation ties to the general theme of the Nature Center and this event.
  2. Project Details - proposed location, budget, and materials and support needed from the Nature Center.
  3. Timeframe/Work Plan – Provide a brief outline of the steps involved in the proposed installation with time requirements. Installation completed by November 25, 2022.
  4. Bio – Provide a brief bio of artist/company and previous experience.
  5. Sample Work Portfolio – link to your website or up to five digital images.
  6. Minimum of two references.

Site Visits and Key Contact

Applicants are invited and encouraged to visit the site at any time. A walk-thru with our facility manager, Ryan Maloney is encouraged. Please contact Ryan to arrange a site visit


  1. Cincinnati Nature Center announces RFP April 1, 2022
  2. RFP Submission DEADLINE June 1, 2022
  3. Interviews for artist to expand on their submissions and meet the Nature Center team. June 1-June 14, 2022
  4. Artists are notified of selection June 15, 2022
  5. Engagement contracts signed and proof of liability insurance provided by June 30, 2022
  6. Installments may begin on or after October 13, 2022
  7. Artwork installation to be completed per RFP and guidelines by November 25, 2022
  8. Final payment of Artist Fees upon on successful completion. Payment schedule: ½ payment along with signed agreement; ¼ payment post installment; ¼ payment December 22, 2022.

Light in the Forest Installation Artist Benefits


  • You’ll receive payment for your work based upon acceptance of your proposal

Name will be listed/mentioned in the following:

  • All Light in the Forest news releases
  • Cincinnati Nature Center’s newsletter listing of annual supporters
  • Digital and/or printed event maps
  • Cincinnati Nature Center website
  • Possible collaboration with a Nature Center representative during a news coverage

Ticket Package:

  • Ten tickets to distribute to employees, clients, and/or customers
  • Ten tickets for a special preview evening for event sponsors, regional media outlets, Nature Center board members, and high-level donors.

Additional Benefits:

  • Opportunity to host a fifteen-minute installation artist talk and Q & A session during the Light in the Forest preview evening.