Request for Proposals of

The International Bellingham Wall Sundial Mural Competition.

“The solar shadow is at once the measure of time and the symbol of life.”


The NW Sun Works, a small group dedicated to the creation of sundials and public artworks, is seeking artist proposals for a working vertical sundial and mural.  It is to be constructed on a south facing wall in Bellingham, Washington State, U.S.A. on a private building near the downtown core.  The project is open to any artist, muralist or sundialist, including teams of people who would like to work together.

The deadline for submissions is the 31st of May, 2017.

Wall Specifications

The wall is 54 ft long by 28 ft high, a slightly irregular surface made of reinforced concrete facing south, with some electric components on the far right side of the wall. The finished sundial will remain in place for 10 years or more.

Proposal Options for Artists, Persons, or Teams

  • Submit design proposal only.
  • Submit design proposal with ability to create mural. (Include Budget)
  • Submit design proposal with ability to do any mural and installation of sundial time telling elements. (Include Budget)

If the winning design is a ‘design proposal only’, we will have local talent available to complete any work required for the sundial portion and for any mural/artwork involved.

If you are a muralist and would like to be considered for the job of installation only, please fill out the application form and select the box under Submission Type titled “I am a muralist and/or sundialist who would like to install the winning design” and disregard any boxes that do not apply.

Template for Sundial

Click to Enlarge, drafted from Sonne 4.01.

We expect that many people may be interested in this competition but lack knowledge of sundials and their design specifics.  For that reason we have created a template that will act as a guideline for you of this location to download and work from.  What this image shows is the seasonal lines, hour lines, half hour lines, and the equation of time on the noon mark for the exact location of our wall.  This is a basic design and by no means is the only way to approach this project.  Feel free to pick and choose what information you wish to use.  Those who are more experienced with sundials may disregard this information completely.  More information on types of sundials is at the bottom of this document.

Eligibility Requirements and Application Form

Due to the unusual nature of this project, we are encouraging the participation of international entrants who may have more experience in this realm but please don’t let inexperience in this field deter you from submitting a proposal. The possibilities are endless and you may have a fresh point of view.  If you have experience and skills in mural or sundial installations, please include that information with your proposal.

A list of things we will ask for include:

  • Personal information including name(s), contact info, and website links (if applicable).
  • Submission type as stated in “Proposal Options for Artists, Persons, or Teams”.
  • An artist proposal.
  • Sketches of design.
  • If submission type includes installation of mural and/or sundial, please submit a budget proposal.
  • If you have previous work, add any pictures you would like to share.

To apply click here!

Selection Process

The selection committee will consist of local Bellingham experts in the fields of art, murals and sundials, as well as the owner of the building of the wall on which the sundial mural will be installed. Applications and submissions will be due by the 31st of May, 2017.

Selection Criterion

The considerations for winning design will be based on:

  •  Originality.
  •  Visual impact.
  •  Appropriateness of the design to the setting.
  •  Educational component: Ability of design to visually convey correct time and seasonal information, as well as other astronomical info you may wish to include.

As stated above, submissions should emphasize the hour and season lines of the sundial, though it is encouraged for this contest to add artistic elements to create a visually striking mural.  As a side note, the entire area does not need to be covered with the design.  A very large and complex design might be cost prohibitive.  One suggestion is that part of the wall could be covered with ivy to reduce area size and temper the design impact.


The final budget, as yet not fixed, will consist of the final design award of $5,000 plus amounts based on:

  1.  The ultimate size of the chosen sundial/mural.
  2.  The required cost of installation, based on materials required and complexity.

At this time it is expected that the project cost will be in the range of $15,000 to $25,000 with a contingency for future maintenance.  Allied Arts of Whatcom County is the fiscal sponsor for this project, and is currently accepting donations for this event.  Any donations made to the project will be tax deductible.

View of Bellingham Bay and downtown with Mt. Baker in the background.

Awards for Participants

     1.   $5,000 (USD) to the winning design.

     2.   Award for installation of the mural and/or sundial.  (Please submit a budget proposal in the application process.)

About Bellingham

Bellingham is a hidden jewel of Washington State filled with people who are forward thinking and enjoy the outdoors.  Protected by the North Cascade mountains and bumped right up to the bay, our views are speckled with island’s, volcanic mountains, numerous lakes, thick mossy forests, and are surrounded by small farms.  Our city thrives on small businesses which fill our brick buildings thanks to our community which encourages handmade and locally sourced goods.  Bellingham is very unique, and we hope for the designs to reflect these inherent qualities .

Read More Here or check out this  Photo Gallery Here.

One outstanding Mural located a near three blocks away is the Bellingham Centennial Mural (artwork from East Los Streetscapers, 1990).

Latitude, Longitude, and Orientation of the Wall

Wall Faces True South

Trusted Online Software

For online programs to help with any design calculations, please visit this site:

North American Sundial Society Software Links

Some of our personal favorites free software links: (Click to activate web page or zip file below.)

It is expected that a plaque will be incorporated which will explain the various aspects of the sundial and the movement of the sun or moon.

Sundial Inspiration

Although the sundial mural theme is not common in the U.S, it is very common in some parts of Europe. For example the small Italian town of Aiello del Friuli has a yearly competition and has over 100 sundials.

The town of sundials”  from Getty Images

Map of town and all sundials

Here are some images which show examples of what others have done and photo collages on our wall as possibilities. We know we have too many, but liked them so much we didn’t know how to stop!

Vertical Sundial Types

The wall design could include several different sundials either separately or overlapping using a common gnomon.  Besides the dial we generally use, there are other historic types that can be considered for the proposal, but are not limited to:

  • Babylonian Hours – Hours since sunrise.
  • Italian – Hours since previous sunset.
  • Temporal or Seasonal Hours – Divides daylight into 12 equal segments hence summer daylight  hours being longer then winter hours.
  • Meridian dials or noon marks – focusing on the noon hour and the seasons.
  • Moon dials – shepherds had to tell time at night, too.

For more technical information, NASS (North American Sundial Society) has a website at

Submission Details

Through the Allied Arts website:

Or mail submissions to

Allied Arts of Whatcom County

Attn: The NW Sun Works

1418 Cornwall Ave

Bellingham, WA 98225. (USA)

Please feel free to contact us, The NW Sun Works group, with any questions you may have at