Sunday, December 22, 2013

Eastern State Penitentiary Art Proposals

Deadline: June 18, 2014, 4:00 pm (RECEIVE) or (HAND DELIVERY)

Art Proposals
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Philadelphia, PA
2015 Season

• 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.

More than seventy artists have created installations for Eastern State Penitentiary’s cellblocks and yards. Some of these installations were among the most successful programming the site has presented, and brought perspectives and approaches that would not have been possible in traditional historic site programming.

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 today’s criminal justice system and corrections policies.

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’re 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 imagined.

Surprise us.

Sean Kelley
Senior Vice President, Director of Public Programming

Orientation Tours: (truncated)
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.

Please let us know if you plan to attend an artist orientation by sending an email at least 48 hours in advance to Sean Kelley at Space is limited to 30 applicants per orientation. Studio assistants and collaborative teams are welcome.

Orientation tours are strongly recommended, but are not required. We understand that travel expenses will make it impossible for some applicants to attend an orientation. We welcome questions by phone or email from those who cannot attend orientations. At least two artists— both international—have submitted successful proposals without attending an orientation, but it is rare.

Artist Orientation Dates and Times available in prospectus.

Download Prospectus:

Visit website for additional information:

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

Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: (215) 236-3300