23 Dec 2019

Call for Submissions Comics and HIV/AIDS

Visual AIDSNew York, New York, United States

NOTE: This opp listing has expired and may no longer be relevant!

Opportunity Description

International Deadline: January 6, 2020 – Visual AIDS invites artists to submit proposals for new comics to be included in our Summer 2020 exhibition.

Visual AIDS will present a new exhibition in Summer 2020 curated by UK-based artist Paul Sammut. The exhibition will take place in New York City and explore the rich history of comics as a mirror for contemporary culture, and as relatable and accessible educational tools in the fight against HIV and AIDS. In many styles and forms—from mainstream titles such as The Incredible Hulk and X-Men, to underground activist publications and GMHC’s Safer Sex Comix—artists and writers have used comics to demystify AIDS, disseminate information about HIV prevention and harm reduction, and as spaces for shared testimonies and histories.

As part of the exhibition we are looking to commission 2-3 new narrative comic works that explore contemporary issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. Commissioned comics will be included in the exhibition and catalog.

We are interested in proposals that:

  • align with Visual AIDS’ sustained work to engage in activism, advocacy, and education in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and to support individuals living with HIV
  • tell a story with sequential elements/include a narrative
  • use the democratic form of comics as a tool for testimony, education and activism

Artists need not have worked in comics before.We are not looking for works that already exist, or are already in progress, but proposals may include, sketches, plots and diagrams alongside examples of existing work.

Please consider that the final works will be published in a printed format and also exhibited in our upcoming summer exhibition.

Visual AIDS and curator Paul Sammut will work with selected artists to develop their proposals into finished works. Selected artists are expected to supply their finished works by April 1, 2020. The final works will be exhibited as part of the exhibition, included in the catalog, and may be distributed by Visual AIDS or utilized for additional promotion of the exhibition.


  • Artists living with HIV are highly encouraged to apply.
  • Artists need not have worked in comics before.
  • We welcome applications that consider experiences and stories that have been excluded from larger artistic, social, and historical accounts of HIV and AIDS, such as those of communities of color, women, and trans people.
  • Proposals must be in English. We can accept works that will be produced in other languages, but will require them to include an English translation.

To apply, please provide the following materials:

  • 1-2 page proposal of maximum 500 words, including notes/images/sketches
  • Examples of relevant work
  • Your C.V.

Email proposals to proposals@visualAIDS.org with email subject line “Comics Proposal 2019: [Name of Applicant(s)]”. Please note that as the guest curator is based outside of the US we can only accept digital applications. Also, please let us know that you saw this announcement on “ArtDeadline.Com”.

The deadline for applications is December 20, 2019.

If you have any questions about the application process, email proposals@visualaids.org.

Commissions will be selected by guest curator Paul Sammut.

We will aim to short-list in early January 2020 and notify successful applicants by January 31. If your work is short-listed we may contact you for further information. We will subsequently develop a schedule with the artists to have the finished works published and ready for exhibition by April 1, 2020.

Visual AIDS and guest curator Paul Sammut will act as editor on the new commissions, which will be developed as a cooperative process with the aim of producing projects that align with the exhibition and Visual AIDS’ mission. We expect to work with the commissioned artist to shape the project and any redrafts and revisions. You will be consulted at each stage of the project and be expected to take decisions about how the work develops and is presented. You will be asked to work to deadlines and attend meetings as agreed, via the Internet or in person. Artists must be willing to take some active part in the launch and promotion of the works. Design will be coordinated by the guest curator with the commissioned artist. No previous design experience is necessary.

Visual AIDS is a WAGE certified organization and all commissioned artists will receive a commissioning fee of $500, plus copies of their published comic (quantity TBC). Visual AIDS will be responsible for all production, publishing and marketing costs. Visual AIDS will reserve the right to reproduce the comic, but the original artwork will be returned to the artist after the exhibition. The selected artists will be asked to sign an agreement with Visual AIDS that will include a contract and schedule for work.

CURATOR – Paul Sammut
An artist based in London; Paul Sammut studied at University of Brighton and is currently researching LGBTQ+ suburban histories. An accredited Relational Dynamics Coach, Sammut regularly holds artist’s surgeries and coaching sessions to aid artists in project development and realisation. Most recently these have been for Book Works, London; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; and the London Creative Network programme at SPACE, London. He has worked for the A.C.E. funded organisation Book Works since 2009 and is a trustee for the arts charity Three Letter Words. As part of his practice he has worked with curator Alexandra Terry (MCA Santa Barbara) under the name P.A.S.T. Projects (2010 – 2015) and run the queer project space White Cubicle (2012 – 2017). He has recently begun publishing under the name Valletta House and is currently a member of the queer publishing focussed collective Strange Perfume.

Visual AIDS is the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to HIV prevention and AIDS awareness through producing and presenting visual art projects, while assisting artists living with HIV/AIDS. We are committed to preserving and honoring the work of artists with HIV/AIDS and the artistic contributions of the AIDS movement. We embrace diversity and difference in our staff, leadership, artists and audiences.

526 W. 26th St. # 510
New York, NY 10001
t: 212.627.9855

Opp Categories: + Open to Multi-Media. Opp Types: Call for Submissions. Opp Tags: $0 Entry/Application Fee, Deadlines 01 Jan thru Feb, and Open to Artists Worldwide. Income: *No Application Fee, Exhibition – Group, In-Kind Benefit, and Publication.

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