Saturday, December 25, 2010

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Deadline: June 16, 2011, 4:00 p.m. (RECEIVE) or (HAND DELIVERY)

Artists' Proposals
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Philadelphia, PA
2012 Season

1. Collaborative proposals are permitted; individuals may submit only one proposal per year (whether alone or as part of a collaboration).
2. Artists who have previously exhibited at the site must wait five years before submitting a proposal for a new installation.
3. Currently enrolled undergraduate students are ineligible to apply.
4. All proposals must be for a site-specific installation.
5. These guidelines are for artists who wish to install visual, video or other installation work to remain on view during public hours at the historic site. The site does occasionally host live or performing arts. Please contact our Sean Kelley at for proposals in the performing arts.


We strongly recommend that artists begin the proposal process by attending an artist orientation. These informal tours/conversations give the artists a chance to experience the space, discuss what makes a successful proposal, ask questions, and observe visitors interacting with the current artist installations.

Orientations are recommended, but not required. There is no charge to attend an orientation.

2011 Orientation Dates and Times (for 2012 Season): AVAILABLE ON WEBSITE

Choosing a Location in the Penitentiary Complex

Artists may apply for any public area in the penitentiary complex for the 2012 season, except Cellblock 2 and the audio tour route. Some installations, such as Linda Brenner’s Ghost Cats have been sited throughout the penitentiary complex. The staff is available to consult on proposed locations.

Funding and Approval (truncated)

The historic site will fund a maximum $7,500.00 per project. This funding indicates approval to exhibit. All projects that are approved will be installed for one full tour season (March 15 through November 30, 2012), unless the proposal states otherwise. Artists may apply for future installation cycles, and should assume that the same guidelines, deadlines, and funding levels will apply.

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, little 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 Eastern State's historic designation, art installations may not permanently damage or alter the building or artifacts in any way without prior written approval.

Visit website for complete proposal details (including links to proposal guidelines in Word or PDf format):

Sean Kelley, Program Director
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 236-5111 x13