Friday, April 24, 2009

Eastern State Penitentiary Artists' Proposals

Deadline: June 16, 2009, 5:00 pm (RECEIVE)

Artists' Proposals
Eastern State Penitentiary

Philadelphia, PA
2010 Season

Types of Funding and Approval

Eastern State Penitentiary now provides funding on two tracks: Exhibition Approval and Proposal Development. Proposals and deadlines for the two types of funding are nearly identical. Exceptions are noted below.

Exhibition Approval: Maximum $7,500.00 per project, includes approval to exhibit during the proposed exhibition cycle. It is not necessary to have applied for or received Proposal Development. Must be for current exhibition cycle. No artist installations can be approved to exhibit on the property without approval through this process. All projects that are approved are for exhibit during one full tour season (April through November), unless otherwise discussed. Artists whose work is currently on exhibit can apply through a separate process to extend their installation by one tour season.

Proposal Development: Maximum $2,500.00 per project, for development of an Exhibition Approval proposal. Proposal Development cannot be applied to the current exhibition cycle. This funding is designed to develop an idea or body of work that will later be submitted as an Exhibition Approval proposal in a later cycle. It is intended to offset travel costs and artist materials for ambitious projects that may require extensive work to develop. It is not necessary to name which year an Exhibition Approval proposal will be submitted. Receipt of Proposal Development does not guarantee later Exhibition Approval, nor that the work will ever be exhibited.


Collaborative proposals are permitted; each artist may only submit just one proposal per year (whether alone or as part of a collaboration), and must choose between the Proposal Development and Exhibition Funding categories.

Artists who have previously exhibited at the site must wait five years before submitting a proposal for a new installation.

Currently enrolled undergraduate students are ineligible to apply.

All proposals must be for a site-specific installation.

Proposals will not be reviewed if they are submitted after the deadline, are incomplete or do not follow the requirements.

Exhibition Conditions: (truncated)

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is a National Historic Landmark, the highest designation for an historic property under Federal Law. It is also a ruin, abandoned in 1971, and stands today as an architectural shell. The building has virtually no running water, no climate control, and limited electrical service. These conditions can be destructive to many types of materials. Most artists working at Eastern State build their work for the space and incorporate the inevitable deterioration into the piece.

Because of the building's condition, neither Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. (the organization that administers the historic site) nor the City of Philadelphia (the owner of the site) can be responsible for damage to work on site. The historic site carries insurance for the safety of the public while in the complex, and of the artists during the installation process, but not for the value of the art installations on display.

Visit website to view complete information and Artists' Proposal guidelines:

Download Proposal information in two formats:

Word: Guidelines_for_Artists_2010_Cycle.doc

PDF: Guidelines_for_Artists_2010_Cycle.pdf

Samples of previous installations and previous successful proposals are also posted on the web site.


Sean Kelley
Program Director
(215) 236-5111 extension 13

Eastern State Penitentiary
Administrative Offices
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130