Art industry standards propose that artists can be asked for a CV, a short response to the brief, examples of previously completed commissions and other relevant work.
However, many calls for EOIs also ask for drawings of the proposed concept, a maquette, a description of the work, sometimes including installation details and a detailed project budget.
While it is understood this is generally inline with what may be required from an EOI in development and construction when dealing with large scale enterprises with substantial financial and human resources,
in the case of artists, asking for this kind of documentation is like asking for anything up to 100 hours of unpaid labour.
No two public art commissions are the same. Therefore, contracts between different projects and different parties are sometimes specifically tailored to the complexities involved in a particular project. Unfortunately this also means that sometimes contracts are ‘cut-and-pasted’ together from other contracts. Without legal representation, artists can sign contracts that are unreasonable or full of conflicting clauses.
The Arts Law Centre of Australia provides a sample contract Public Visual Artwork Agreement.
After engineering, manufacturing, fabrication, installation, project managers, site-works companies, transport, insurances, artist's agent fees, cranes, traffic control, accommodation and travel expenses, administration fees and reports, and often ongoing maintenance schedules, artists fees are typically 10% of the project budget.
In the case of a $200,000 public art commission for example, the artist fee generally translates to asking the artist to work two years full time for $10,000/year.
Typically, the process for commissioning public art follows the same procurement process for anything that’s installed in the public space: a park-bench, a play-ground or even a toilet block. Depending on the scale of the project and size of the budget, an artist’s design may be put out to open or limited tender. Huge problems can arise that alter the finish and life of an artwork when fabrication is tendered out, rather than ensuring that the artist leads the process.