Description: In 2020, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (the “museum”) will bring back the nine-hole Art Course, inspired by works of art in the museum’s collection. The objective of this course is to present a playful, one-of-a-kind interactive experience that highlights the museum’s collection in new and unexpected ways. The museum seeks new designs for holes and will consider changes to the course in the future.


Deadline for submission: October 14, 2019 / Course opens late May 2020

Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to enter. Individuals or teams may submit more than one entry, but each design proposal requires a separate submission. Collaborations are encouraged but not required. The museum will fabricate the selected designs.

Theme: Designs submitted for consideration must relate to the museum’s permanent collection and/or architecture. Submissions are encouraged to be creative and incorporate the theme in any manner appropriate for their proposal.

Much of the museum’s collection can be accessed on our website as well as Google Art.

A participant who visits the museum to see the on-view collection in person should check to make sure the works selected as inspiration in the participant’s design proposal are owned by the museum and are not on loan to the museum (see corresponding object label for confirmation).

Selection Process: Proposals will be selected through a blind review process by a team of curators, designers, museum professionals and fabrication experts based upon the criteria below. All decisions will be final, irrevocable and indisputable.

Concept: The originality of the design and relationship to the museum’s collection and architecture.

Playability: Each proposal will be evaluated for appropriate balance between challenge and fun for players.

Safety: Each hole must be safe for play by all ages and not present any hazards that could harm public participants.

Durability: Each hole must be designed to handle a large volume of traffic (approximately 30,000 people) without excessive upkeep and constant maintenance. The course will reside outside for the entire summer season and must take weather into consideration. Holes with tunnels or other hidden elements must be accessible for maintenance and cleaning. Materials should be indicated in design, but may be substituted by the fabricators during the construction process.

Feasibility: Proposals will be evaluated on the feasibility of its design for real-world construction and use. Any proposals which are out of scope in scale or budget, or present unrealistic expectations by way of execution, playability or installation may not be considered. As the museum will be overseeing fabrication, the museum will assume the burden of feasibility, but reserves the right to abandon fabrication should the design become overly complex. Feasibility guidelines for proposals should assume a 300 square foot maximum footprint and a $4,000 maximum cost for fabrication and materials.

Stipend: The museum will pay each team or individual whose creative design is selected a one-time $500 stipend for the design (one stipend per design) and provide a free pass to play unlimited mini-golf for the summer season (one pass per artist, passes will be valid for the current season only and not in perpetuity). The artists who create the selected designs will also receive recognition in publications, media opportunities, documentation and special events. Once the holes have been selected and the stipend dispensed, the ownership of the hole and its concept will transfer to the museum.

Right to Cancel: The museum will have the right to cancel this RFP and the golf course project at any time and for any reason or no reason, in the museum’s sole discretion. In the event the museum elects to cancel this RFP and/or the golf course project, the museum shall have no obligation to fabricate the holes or pay stipends or any other amounts in connection with the submitted designs.

Museum Right to Modify Hole Designs: The museum will have the right to modify all selected hole designs as it deems necessary in its sole discretion in order to improve playability, facilitate successful fabrication, meet insurance requirements and ensure compliance with applicable laws and codes.

Maintenance, Upkeep and Assignment of Rights: The museum will assume all liability, upkeep and maintenance for the holes. The museum also assumes the right to keep or dispose of any holes as it sees fit. In submitting a design for consideration, the entrant assigns to the museum all right, title, and interest in and to ideas and original works of authorship associated with the entry, including, but not limited to, copyrights, products, designs, services, drawings, plans, logos, and artwork. Each entrant further assigns to the museum all reproduction, performance, display, distribution, and other intellectual property rights, the right to modify, distort, or alter the submitted design, the right to produce derivative works, the right to sue for infringement (past, present or future) and to recover damages therefor, free of any claims of any other including the entrant, and any so-called moral rights. To the extent moral rights may not be assigned, the entrant waives the benefit or protection of such rights. All artists named in a selected entry will be asked to sign an agreement reflecting the waiver and assignment described above before the selection is deemed to be final.

Building Specifications and Design Guidelines:

  • Each hole must be designed to withstand direct exposure to the elements as well as an enthusiastic, club-wielding public of all ages.
  • Any materials, structures, or components deemed hazardous or exceedingly fragile will be rejected. Please keep budget and feasibility in mind for submissions.
  • Due to space limitations, each green cannot exceed 300 square feet (maximum of 20 ft. in any one direction, but may be in any configuration) and must be designed for a level platform.
  • Each hole must include a level area no smaller that 3×3 where players can “tee-off.”
  • Playing surface must encourage easy rolling, such as Astroturf or outdoor carpeting.
  • All perimeter edges of the green should have a 4” high boarder to prevent the ball from rolling off the playing surface.
  • Drainage of rainwater can be addressed in the design or implemented in fabrication.
  • Undulating greens will be accepted.
  • Individual holes must be able to withstand theft, extreme weather and heavy use.
  • The greens must be playable with traditional putters and golf balls, and should be par six or under.
  • No electrical power will be provided. If you desire moving parts, we encourage you to find ways to make the works interactive, i.e. letting the players turn the crank for a windmill.
  • Architectural drawings with dimensions, a list of suggested materials and budget are required with submission.
  • Please attempt to address accessibility issues for individuals who are blind, have low-vision, are mobility impaired and/or hearing impaired.
  • After final green selections, the course design and assignment of holes will be the responsibility of the Museum.
  • The Museum will assume all liability for the holes upon acceptance of the contract.

Construction Considerations for Design Proposals and Additional Items:

  • All material coming into contact with the ground will be fabricated from treated lumber or other elements unaffected by moisture.
  • All elements will be fabricated from waterproof materials.
  • No works may endanger visitors playing the course.
  • Designs will be altered after selection to accommodate better accessibility and insurance.
  • The Museum retains the right to make design modifications as needed.

Museum support: The selection committee may make or request revisions or alterations on designs based on safety or feasibility concerns. The museum has the right to make final decisions during course construction. Artists are not expected to be available or involved during design and construction.

Installation: The museum will be responsible for all aspects of installation.

Insurance: Due to the specific nature of this project, the museum will not provide insurance coverage on individual holes.

Marketing, Press and Documentation: The museum retains all rights to the course and holes, for all purposes. The museum also retains all right to reuse holes in future years. The museum staff will promote the course and will serve as the media contact. Artists may be asked to participate in media interviews as opportunities arise.

Application Process:
All creative hole submissions should be uploaded by 11:59 pm on Monday, October 14th. The following materials are required for consideration:

1/ 1-4 images of your proposed project. This may include three-dimensional mock-ups, sketches, or digital drawings of your proposed creative mini-golf hole. Drawings must contain dimensions. Recommended architectural drawings can be made in Google SketchUp or other CAD software. Supplemental images, such as examples of materials or images of similar past projects may also be included or close-ups of elements of your proposal. Please note that the images must be jpg, jpeg, png, pdf or gif and must be less than 5MB.

2/ A brief project proposal describing the creative mini-golf hole and how it relates to the museum’s collection and buildings (300 words max).

3/ A brief project proposal describing the creative mini-golf hole’s proposed materials, functionality and playability. (300 words max)

4/ A one-page resume including contact information for the design team. Please organize your accomplishments into sections (for example: education, employment/professional, exhibitions, awards, publications miscellaneous) and save your resume as a pdf. If you are submitting as a collaborative team or group, one page per artist/collaborative member is permitted.

-Multiple proposals: Each artist/team may submit multiple designs. If you are submitting multiple designs, separate, clearly labeled, submissions are required for each design.

5/ A completed copy of the Acknowledgments section of this RFP, signed by each member of the design team.

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 pm on Monday, October 14th.

August 2019: Open Call distributed
October 14: Submissions due
December: Winning entries selected
Early May 2020: Installation
Late May 2020: Golf course opens
Fall 2020: Course dismantled

Selected submissions will be notified by electronic mail delivered to the e-mail addresses designated in the application.

Helpful Links and Resources:
For examples of other artist-designed mini-golf courses, please see the websites for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis or the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

For tips on what makes a good or bad hole, visit Tom Loftus and Robin Schwartzman’s blog:

Any questions about the creative mini-golf program or submission process please contact:


The following form must be completed, signed by each member of the submitting design team, and included with the application:

  • Add a new row
  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, docx.
      Please provide no more than 4 visual renderings of your proposed hole design.
    • Drop files here or
      Accepted file types: pdf, docx.
      • I (we) have carefully read the statements and release of liability above. I (we) understand that in submitting this document, I (we) am giving up significant rights in exchange for being able to participate in the design competition.