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Neenah Art[works]: Uncovered

Proposal Summary:

Neenah Art[works]: Uncovered Future Neenah seeks proposals from local and regional artists for a community art project that will turn 24 manhole covers into unique works of art. Once accepted, artists will receive a blank cover (actual size, but a much lighter poly board material that can be altered) and work their magic transforming it into a piece of art using their preferred medium.

The completed covers will be revealed at a Pop-Up Gallery Night (Fall 2019) and then displayed in Neenah area businesses for the public to enjoy.

Proposed work should be inspired by the Neenah community and/or reflect the theme of finding beauty in unexpected places.

Selected artists will be awarded a stipend for design and materials in the amount of $500.

Due to an overwhelming response, we are extending the artist submission deadline to Sunday June 30, 2019

Project Goals:

  • Feature the deeply rooted history that Neenah Foundry shares with the community and highlight the idea of finding beauty and art in unexpected places – sometimes even underfoot.
  • Provide cultural, social, and economic value by inviting community members to explore the arts and businesses of the Neenah area.
  • Support of the local creative entrepreneurial economy by providing a platform for established and emerging artists.


We are seeking business or individual partners to sponsor each manhole cover artwork. Click the button below for additional info:

Artist Eligibility:

It is the policy of Future Neenah to provide equal opportunities to all individuals regardless of age, sex, race, creed or religion, color, disability, marital status, citizenship status, veteran status, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law.


Artist Guidelines:

Artists may submit as many designs as they wish for consideration

  • The poly board cover may be painted, sculpted, transformed, adorned, or used to create, print, or fashion a work of art – but the inherent design and look of the manhole cover must be visible and recognizable when viewing the finished work. Samples of the poly board material are available at Future Neenah for reference.
  • The design cannot be derogatory, obscene, profane, or defamatory in any way as determined by the Future Neenah Arts Committee.
  • The artwork may not contain a brand mark from any entity (unless approved).
  • The artist must be the owner of the artwork/design or provide documentation that they have received appropriate rights to display or reproduce derivative elements contained within the work.
  • Artists must submit a sketch of their proposed design by: Sunday June 30, 2019
  • The Future Neenah Arts Committee will approve a design before a manhole cover is delivered and the artist can begin work.
Image of cover:

Criteria for Selection:

Proposals that integrate the following elements will be preferred:

  • Shows well in both day and night
  • Reflects the Neenah community and finding art in unexpected places
  • Components that require little maintenance during the display period
  • Appropriate for viewing by visitors of all ages
  • Artists will submit a their vision, complete with name from until Sunday June 30, 2019 (deadline extended).
  • The Future Neenah Arts Committee will review submissions to ensure project guidelines are met
  • Approved proposals will be submitted to sponsors for selection and artists will be notified immediately.
  • Artists will be awarded a stipend for design and materials in the amount of $500.

Anticipated Timeline:

  • Spring 2019: Artist request for proposals
  • Spring 2019: Sponsorship sales begin
  • June 2019: Selected Artists begin receiving manhole covers
  • August 2019: Artists return competed pieces
  • Fall 2019: Gallery Night/Art Walk

Event Summary:

The completed manhole cover art pieces will be displayed together for one night only at a pop-up Gallery Night in Fall 2019. The event will feature music, food, and cocktails that will fit the industrial feel of the project.

Afterward they will be displayed in a variety of businesses and public spaces in the Neenah area along with artist information for continued visibility. [Locations and timing TBD].


  • The cover is true to size as found in the wild, but constructed of a lightweight poly board material (not metal). We chose this material because it can be sculpted, etched, painted, glued, manipulated, etc. – and the light weight will make them much easier to hang or display.
  • You can create a piece of art ON the cover or WITH the cover.
  • The covers will NOT be placed in the street – they will be displayed as works of art at gallery night and eventually in the businesses, homes, or public spaces determined by Future Neenah.


Contact Nikki Hessel: [email protected]


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