International Art Competition





Ca 20 ‘khrushchyovkas’ in the downtown area of Tartu will become ‘smartovkas’ in the context of the European Union Horizon 2020 project SmartEnCity. The apartment buildings originating from 1960s will be fully renovated and turned into energy-efficient and modern houses, equipped with solar panels, smart electronics, electric bicycle and car rental stations near the buildings, etc.

In addition, overall appearance of the buildings will change. The general goal of the current competition is to engage artists from both Estonia and abroad in order to turn downtown Tartu into an increasingly unique and aesthetically pleasing city space. An artwork will be created for each building participating in the initiative; in addition to murals, sculptures and various installative objects can also be set up.

The specific goal of the competition is to find artists that are interested in participating in this initiative and whose artistic approach can be considered suitable in this context. Suitability will be evaluated based on the following key principles:

  • Art is used to add value to public space and living environment;
  • The artworks are site-specific. The aim is to emphasise the spirit of Tartu via art, building upon features that make the city unique. In case of each building, the specific context and surroundings will have to be taken into account. The artist´s portfolio will have to demonstrate capacity for creating site-specific artworks.

As a result of the competition, a pool of artists will be identified who will be potentially invited to create an artwork related to one of the buildings included in the project. The decisions about artists who will receive such an invitation will be made at a later phase in cooperation with the representatives of each building and curators involved in the project.

For creating a design chosen to be implemented (developing the initial idea into a final design), an honorarium of 1000 € on average is foreseen for each artist. In parallel with creating the design, the artist is also expected to provide his/ her recommendations regarding the general colour scheme of the building exterior. Regarding the implementation phase, a contract will be signed with each artist, determining the artist´s honorarium, regulating intellectual property rights, the specifics of the work process and other relevant terms. Total budget for creating the artwork (design and implementation) is max. 8000€, including all related costs (fees to the artist, curator and other parties involved in creating the artwork, cost related to materials and equipment, transportation, travel costs in the implementation phase, etc). In addition, the artist´s travel costs in the designing phase will also be reimbursed in previously agreed limits, as it is necessary to visit Tartu to be able to create a high-quality site-specific artwork.

The creation of artworks will take place step-by-step in parallel with the renovation process. The first houses will be renovated in 2017, while the project has to be implemented in full by January 2019.

Further information about SmartEnCity can be found at and The project has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No 691883. The creation of artworks is additionally funded by the City of Tartu.



To participate in the competition, the applicants are expected to submit:

  1. A short expression of interest (cover letter), explaining why participating in this initiative is interesting from their perspective and what are their earlier experiences in creating public space art
  2. Applicant’s portfolio
  3. Applicant’s CV
  4. We prefer applications that also include a preliminary illustrative design or sketch, that shows how the artist´s ideas about how the artwork could be situated in relation to the building exterior. The enclosed example plan of a typical building should be used as a basis for this. The preliminary design can be based on an already existing artwork.

The materials have to submitted by 30 November 2016 to the e-mail address The materials can be submitted in Estonian or English. The portfolio and CV can also be submitted as links to online materials (in case the portfolio and/or CV are available online).

In case of such agreement with the artist or his/her legal successor, a third party can submit an application in the name of the artist.

By submitting the above-mentioned materials, the applicants also confirm agreeing to the terms and conditions of the competition.


The competition deadline is 30 November 2016.


  1. The applicant needs to be a professional artist/creative person who
    – has completed higher education studies in the field of visual or applied arts or other related fields and/or
    – has participated in exhibitions/created artworks exhibited in public spaces during the last 3 years at minimum.
  2. There are no limitations in terms of the artist’s field of activity (street art, painting, printmaking, sculpture, etc). It is also accepted that the artist participating in the competition creates the design of the artwork while technical implementation may be left for other parties with relevant skills and experience, acting based on the guidelines of the artist and curator.


The applications shall be evaluated by a jury composed of representatives of the SmartEnCity Project, the City of Tartu, involved buildings, art professionals and other relevant external experts. The jury will evaluate the materials submitted by the applicants based on the terms and conditions of the competition (p1 and key principles outlined under I General framework and goals of the competition).

All artists that pass the evaluation are included in the pool (reserve list) of artists out of which the involved curators and residents of each building will at a later phase choose ca 20 artists who will receive an invitation to work with one of the buildings. The exact timing of concrete invitations depends on the individual renovation schedule of each building. The first artists will receive an invitation already in 2016 while the majority will be contacted during 2017.

All participants will be notified of the results of the competition within two months after the deadline.

There are no monetary awards related to materials submitted to the competition; an honorarium of 1000 € on average is foreseen for each artist invited to work with a specific building (honorarium for developing the initial idea into a final design). Regarding the implementation phase, a contract will be signed with each artist, determining the artist´s honorarium, regulating intellectual property rights, the specifics of the work process and other relevant terms.


The competition is coordinated by the Institute of Baltic Studies. In case of questions, please contact the competition coordinator Kadri Uus at the e-mail address


  1. Map of involved buildings
  2. Example Building Plan (1:100)
  3. Project SmartEnCity