Sunday, January 20, 2013

Eastern State Penitentiary Art Proposals - 2014 Season

Deadline: June 13, 2013, 4:00 pm (RECEIVE) or (HAND DELIVERY)

Art Proposals
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Philadelphia, PA
2014 Season

We seek installations that will explore Eastern State Penitentiary's history, and evoke a broad range of emotions. We seek installations that will make connections between the complex history of this building and its legacy in current prison policies and conditions.

We want to humanize these difficult subjects with personal stories and distinct points of view. We want to hear new voices—voices that might emphasize the political or humorous or bluntly personal. We want our visitors to be challenged with provocative questions, and we are prepared to face some provocative questions ourselves.

In short, we seek memorable, thought-provoking additions to our public programming, combined with true excellence in artistic practice.

If our definition of this program seems broad, it's because we're open to approaches that we haven't yet heard.

Orientation: We strongly recommend that applicants begin the proposal process by attending an artist orientation. These informal tours/conversations give the artists a chance to explore the space, discuss what makes a successful proposal, ask questions, and observe visitors interacting with the current installations. There is no charge for attending an orientation.

Orientation Dates and Times for 2014 Season
Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 11 am
Friday, February 1 at 11 am
Friday, March 15 at 3 pm
Sunday, March 24 at 3 pm
Friday, April 20 at 3:00 pm
Saturday, May 4 at 10:30 am
Saturday, May 26 at 11 am
Tuesday, June 4 at 6 pm
Sunday, June 9 at 2 pm

Choosing a Location in the Penitentiary Complex:

Artists may apply for any public area in the penitentiary complex for the 2014 season, except Cellblock 2 and the main audio tour route.

We recommend making space requests as broad as possible ("any cell with electricity"), since it gives us confidence that we can find a site for the work. We also encourage artists to propose for specific
locations if those locations are important to the piece, such as Nick Cassway's request for his
installation—Portraits of Inmates in the Death Row Population Sentenced as Juveniles—to face Death Row.

Spaces on the outside of the penitentiary walls may also be available, including in the Corinthian and Brown Street garden areas. These proposals will require another set of approvals from neighborhood

Our staff is available to consult on proposed locations.

Funding: 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 (typically March 15 through November 30), 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.

• Collaborative proposals are permitted; individuals may submit only one proposal per year (whether alone or as part of a collaboration).
• Artists who have previously exhibited at the site must wait five years before submitting a proposal for a new installation.
• Applicants may not submit previously rejected proposals.
• Artists must be at least 18 years old. Currently enrolled undergraduate students are ineligible to apply.
• All proposals must be for a site-specific installation.
• These guidelines are for artists who wish to install visual, video or other installation work to remain on view during all public hours at the historic site. The site does host performing arts, films, and
speakers' series. Please contact Sean Kelley at for proposals in the
performing or live arts.

Download Proposal Guidelines:

Visit website for more details:

Sean Kelley
Senior Vice President, Director of Public Programming
(215) 236-5111 x13