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Kalamazoo College

2018 Call for Art

1. Overview


The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (ACSJL) is an initiative of Kalamazoo College whose mission is to develop and sustain leaders in human rights and social justice through education and capacity building. The ACSJL is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan in an award-winning building designed by Studio Gang (Chicago).

Every other year, the ACSJL hosts a global event, With/Out-¿Borders?, which invites social justice leaders from across the world to Kalamazoo College to rest, reflect, build relationships, and be honored for their work. The purpose of this global convening is to 1) bring together grassroots activists from across the globe who envision a world free from oppression and are actively working towards that vision; 2) create an environment where these activists can learn from and support each other; 3) develop deep and meaningful relationship between the Kalamazoo College community and these activists and their work; 4) deploy resources of the ACSJL to uplift and strengthen the work of each participant, living up to its mission of capacity-building on a global level. Essentially, the gathering brings together activists whose work envisions an imaginative, robust, plentiful, and just future.

The theme for 2018 With/Out-¿Borders? is Towards a FutureLand and will be held October 8 – 15, 2018. The ACSJL is gathering activists from across the globe who approach movement work understanding:

  1. land as essential to Indigenous sovereignty movements
  2. land as contested through the forced dislocation of people within and outside the US
  3. land as strength and nurturance

An intimate convening based on global struggles for land allows us to deeply examine the commodities and consumption of space as well as the reach and watch of colonial and corporate power.

To this end, the ACSJL is seeking an artist to create a site-specific installation that addresses this theme.

2. The Project

The selected artist will design, produce, and install an artwork based on the theme of “Towards a Futureland” as described above. The artwork may be previously or newly created but must adhere to the theme. The artwork should interact with the interior space of the ACSJL’s large seminar area. The installation area is a large wall (approximately 700 square feet, see dimensions and diagrams below) that can accomodate two-dimension or wall mounted three-dimensional artwork. The selected project may consist of one large piece that uses the whole wall or a collection of multiple pieces installed as one project.

The artwork will be installed by the selected artist(s) and will stay on exhibit at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership for a period of up to two years. The artist will be responsible for all installation needs (equipment, assistants, supplies). The ACSJL will do any wall modifications needed for installation. The artwork will not be for sale while on exhibit, and the artist will retain ownership of the art. The installation period can begin as early as Monday, June 4, 2018, and it must be completed by Tuesday, September 4, 2018.  The artist will be required to attend the opening of the exhibit in October 2018.


  • Wall dimensions
    • The wall is 55 feet wide and ranges in height from 16 feet at the large window (on left in photos below) to 11 feet at the entry vestibule (on right in photos below) with a slight concave curvature.  The drywall is backed with plywood.
    • Images of the wall with previous artwork installations and a schematic drawing of the wall are included here.
    Art Wall Drawing

 Arcus Center Art WallArcus Center Art WallArcus Center Art WallArcus Center Art Wall

3. Eligibility and Criteria

  • Artist(s) must live and/or work within a 250 mile radius of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Native American and First Nation artists with ties to the region who do not currently live and/or work in the geographic area are also eligible to apply. Finalists may be asked to confirm residency and/or enrollment status during the interview stage.
  • Artwork must represent the project intent as discussed above.
  • $10,000 commission will cover all aspects of the project including creation, materials, and installation. Funds will be dispersed in 3 portions: 1) upon signing of contract, 2) mid-installation (~July 1, 2018), and 3) upon completion of installation. Funds are for this one time project.
  • Project must be artist-led.
  • Artist(s) must be able to commit to the timeline and complete the installation on time.
  • Artist(s) may be at any stage of their career but must have demonstrated the capacity to complete projects on a timeline and the ability to use the funds agreed upon to complete the project according to the established timeline.
  • Artist is required to attend the opening of the exhibit. Travel and lodging expenses for the exhibit opening will be covered by the ACSJL.
  • The ACSJL reserves the right to reject and/or accept any and all artwork at its sole discretion.

4. Application Materials

Applicants must submit the following materials:

  • Project Concept including:
    • description of project
    • timeline
    • budget
    • materials
    • 10-15 images of supporting illustrations, drawings, diagrams and/or models with identification. This may be submitted 1) as a .PDF that can be uploaded as one document with identifying information at the top and one image per page or 2) as a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Letter of Intent (2 page maximum) addressing:
    • interest in the project
    • preparation/experience
    • personal objectives/outcomes
    • community impact
  • Supplemental Materials
    • Artist Statement
    • Curriculum Vitae
  • List of 3 Professional References
    • include relationship to artist
    • full contact information
  • 7-10 Completed Work Samples for lead artist only
    • This may be submitted 1) as a .PDF that can be uploaded as one document with identifying information at the top and one image per page or 2) as a PowerPoint presentation.


5. Criteria for Selection/Review Process

  • Quality of the project concept in relation to the theme, physical space, and architecture
  • Aesthetic rigor and artistic excellence
  • Artist’s commitment to land
  • Artist’s ability to complete the project and be fiscally responsible
  • Selection panel will include ACSJL staff, student staff, and faculty representatives from Kalamazoo College.


6. Timeline

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Completed applications due

Paper and electronic applications must be received by 12:00 pm ET on Tuesday, May 15.

Monday, May 29, 2018 Finalists contacted for site visit
Friday, June 15, 2018 Final Decision
Monday, June 18, 2018 First day installation can begin
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 25% of installation complete
Friday, August 17, 2018 75% of installation complete
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 Installation complete
October 2018  Opening event


Contact Information for project coordinators:

Mia Henry, Executive Director Lisa Brock, Academic Director
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
1200 Academy  Kalamazoo, MI 49006 1200 Academy  Kalamazoo, MI 49006
269-337-7398 269-337-7398