Give the Virginia Zoo’s Mermaid a Makeover!

Request for Proposals

Who is the Virginia Zoo Mermaid?

The Mermaid statue was part of the movement started in the late 90’s of mermaid sculptures placed throughout the City when Norfolk decided to adopt the mermaid as the official symbol of the city. The Virginia Zoo’s sculpture greets all guests near the entry to the zoological park. Her last refresh was in 2010, after many years of love (and weather), she is in need of a facelift.

The Virginia Zoo is seeking artists to design, paint, embellish, and completely makeover its mermaid sculpture, giving it a new life as a photo opportunity for guests. The Virginia Zoo will provide the selected artist $2,000 to cover project materials and labor costs.

Artists are encouraged to submit design concepts for the Virginia Zoo Mermaid. The following information should be included in the response:

  • Materials used
  • A sketch of proposed designs (attached rendering preferred)
  • 3-5 work samples, or link to online portfolio
  • A brief description of your art related experience
  • Estimated timeline for completion

The proposed designs must meet the following criteria:

  • Some reference to the Virginia Zoo either through use of the words “Virginia Zoo” or the Virginia Zoo logo or depictions of animals/animal print in the design.
  • Work must be suitable for outdoor installation and must be capable of withstanding adverse weather conditions.
  • Final work must be completed by July 12, 2024.

A selection panel coordinated by the Virginia Zoo, consisting of staff members, will review the submissions and notify all applicants to the outcome of the process by June 17, 2024 Recipient should be prepared to work on the design at the Virginia Zoo, outside and at the current location of the statue as she cannot be moved.

Send proposal submissions or questions to the Virginia Zoo’s Director of Communications at [email protected]


May 30: Announcement of RFP

June 13: Deadline for receipt of application materials

June 17: Complete review process, notify artists

June 21: Begin work on sculpture at Virginia Zoo

July 13: Unveil The Mermaid at the Zoo