16 Sep 2016

Call for Submissions Apexart Unsolicited Exhibition Program

ApexartNew York, New York, United States


Opportunity Description

International Deadline: October 31, 2016 – apexart’s Unsolicited Exhibition Program (UEP) is a month-long open call for focused, idea-driven, original group exhibitions, to be presented at apexart’s New York City location as part of the season program. Curators, artists, writers, and creative individuals, regardless of experience level, background, or location, are invited to submit their ideas online in a 500-word text-only proposal (no images, no links, no CVs, no exceptions).

A diverse jury of more than 150 people from around the world participate in a crowdsourced voting process. If you are not submitting a proposal, you may ask to participate on the jury. Following the open call period, apexart sends each juror a dedicated login to read and register votes for at least 50 proposals. apexart’s online process ensures that each proposal is anonymous and receives equal consideration by the jury. apexart staff does not interfere with or affect the selection of the winners.

After the jury period concludes, the three winners are notified and announced as part of the upcoming season, and all applicants are informed of their overall proposal ranking in the results page. Each of the three winners receives funding for his or her project, and works closely with the team to turn their idea into an apexart exhibition.

The Unsolicited Exhibition Program (UEP) seeks to decentralize the selection process and eliminate problems associated with other juried open calls by making the system as meritocratic as possible and politics-free. With an average of more than 1,000 people submitting exhibition proposals each season and more than 300 jurors, we have developed a uniquely democratic program model that represents the interests of our audience and gives each participant an interesting learning opportunity.


  • apexart provides a $6,000 Exhibition Budget, a $300 Public Programs Budget, and a $2,000 Curatorial Honorarium to the Organizer.
  • apexart covers costs for insurance, advertising, publicity, documentation, design, printing, and mailing of the brochure, and the opening reception.
  • apexart handles all of the exhibition logistics, including loan agreements, shipping, and installation.


  • Proposals are not accepted for solo exhibitions or “artist projects,” where multiple people create a single artwork.
  • The artists cannot be selected through an open call.
  • Residency components are not considered part of the exhibition.
  • Proposals cannot include any sales-related activities.


  • Proposals must be for an original group exhibition, presented for the first time, consisting of works by at least 3 artists.
  • A significant component of the exhibition must be on view at apexart for the duration.
  • Proposals cannot exceed 500 words and must be in English.
  • Please do not include biographical information, CVs, links, or images as they will be removed.
  • Exhibition dates are predetermined by apexart. Please do not include specific dates for the exhibition as they will be removed.
  • No topics are off limits, and no ideas are too controversial.

Submit your proposal October 1-31, 2016.

View Floorplan (.pdf)

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I have be a “curator” to submit a group exhibition proposal? May I submit a proposal with other organizers?
A: Anyone from anywhere is encouraged to enter and no prior curatorial experience is necessary. The jury will read your proposal without your name attached to it. Curatorial teams are eligible and encouraged to submit. All participating organizers must be listed by name on the application. Proposals from collectives are welcome, but please note that listed exhibition organizer will be either individual names or the collective name, not both.

Q: When is the submission deadline? How many exhibitions will be selected? When will the winning exhibitions be announced? When will the selected exhibitions be on view?
A: Submissions will be accepted from October 1 – 31, 2015 (11:59 PM EST—New York time). Three exhibitions will be selected for the Unsolicited Proposal Program. The winning exhibitions will be announced on December 9, 2015. All three exhibitions will be presented between September 2016 – July 2017, with exact dates confirmed with the winners.

Q: Who juries the exhibition proposals? What kind of exhibition is apexart looking for?
A: An international group of up to 150 creative individuals evaluates the proposals in a “blind” process online. Jurors do not know each other and there is no discussion between them or with apexart staff. The jury changes every year. apexart respects the jury process and does not interfere. Jurors are selected from our audience, from the international arts community, and from fields outside of the visual arts to help give feedback from diverse perspectives and insure that our programming responds to the interests of a wide audience. No topics are off limits, no ideas too controversial. Hint: Best shows are shows about topics you personally care about.

Q: What basic elements should be included in my proposal?
A: Submissions must be a proposal for an original group exhibition to be presented for the first time and include at least THREE artists for the exhibition. Proposals must be submitted in English and not exceed the 500 word limit. Please do not include any links or bio information, as all URLs and bios are removed.

Q: Should my proposal include artist names and descriptions of their work? Do I need to confirm artists in order to submit?
A: You should include whatever information you think is essential to emphasizing the exhibition’s idea. Consider whether naming artists is the most effective use of your word limit in order to convey your idea to the jurors, especially when the artists are regional and might not be known to the jurors. If you do include artists’ names in your proposal you do not have to confirm their participation in advance. Winning proposals will be posted to the apexart website as they were submitted—no alterations will be made.

Q: Can I submit an exhibition with an open call or a residency component?
A: No. Open calls must be completed prior to submitting a proposal and residencies cannot be a component of the exhibition.

Q: Can my show be virtual or off-site?
A: No, all exhibitions must take place in real life. Though parts of the exhibition may be in public or other spaces, something must be on view within the walls of our New York City for the scheduled duration of approximately 6 weeks, during hours assigned by apexart.

Q: Can my proposed show include sales of work?
A: No. apexart is a not-for-profit institution and does not engage in any sales-related activities.

Q: Can I submit a proposal for a solo show or an exhibition of my own work?
A: No. All proposals must include at least 3 people. Including yourself in an exhibition proposal is allowed but should be clearly stated. In addition, proposals will not be accepted for exhibitions where multiple people work on one person’s idea (artists projects). Artist projects are exhibitions that use other artists or individuals working on the submitter’s idea to create a single work or installation. If you want an opinion on a specific project to avoid problems, it must be submitted to questions@apexart.org one week prior to deadline.

Q: I already won an apexart Unsolicited Proposal Program Exhibition. Can I win again?
A: No, you may not re-apply if you have already won, but you may apply for our Franchise Program open call, beginning February 2016.

Q: Does apexart have any input into the content of the winning exhibitions?
A: apexart works with all winners to ensure that the resulting exhibitions are consistent with the original proposal and that the works included in the show are aligned with and related to the idea behind the exhibition.

Q: What is the exhibition budget and what does it cover?
A: apexart will provide up to $5,000 for travel (organizer/artists), transportation of artwork, and general expenses and a $2,000 curatorial honorarium. apexart will assist and support the organizer to help locate outside support.

Q: Is there a cost for me to submit my proposal or to exhibition an exhibition at apexart?
A: No, there are no fees for the exhibition organizer(s) to apply for this open call, or for any artists to participate in the exhibition.

Q: Can I submit more than one proposal? Can I submit an exhibition that has been presented elsewhere before? Can I submit supplementary materials?
A: No.

Q: What happens to my proposal? Do the jurors see my name?
A: Before your proposal is submitted to the online jury, your name and contact information is removed. We do this to create an even playing field for all submitters, no matter what their background or experience. After the jurying has finished, the three winning proposals are posted on the apexart website as originally submitted, including any proposed artist names, and cannot be changed. Proposals that do not win are no longer available for access.

Q: How do I find out the status of my submission?
A: You will receive an email confirmation upon submission. If you don’t, please contact apexart via email ONLY. After jurying has been completed (usually 5 weeks after the submission deadline), you will be sent a link to see where your proposal ranks. The ranking list is done by submission ID#, no submitters’ names appear.

Q: Can I send you my edits?
A: No changes may be made after submitting your proposal.

Q: Where can I find more information about other open call programs and additional resources?
A: You can learn about our open call program here and you may wish to review past successful proposals.

Q: Who can I contact if I still have questions?
A: questions@apexart.org

apexart is a non-profit arts organization in Lower Manhattan that was conceived to offer opportunities to independent curators and emerging and established artists, as well as to challenge ideas about art, its practice and curation. We realize this mission through exhibitions, an international residency, a book publishing initiative, and public programs and events.

291 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212.431.5270

Opp Categories: + Open to All Media. Opp Types: Call for Submissions. Income: Exhibition – Group, In-Kind Benefit, and Stipend. Opportunity expires in 9 days.

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