Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts

Due Dec 15 2019

EFA Project Space is seeking letters of inquiry for curated exhibitions, projects, and public events to be presented as part of its 2021 season on the theme of BRIGHT FUTURES. We invite curators, artists, writers, collectives, cultural producers, instigators, and thinkers of all kinds to submit preliminary ideas for thought-provoking exhibitions or projects (including performances, lectures, workshops, skillshares, seances, seminars and conversations) to be produced in partnership with EFA Project Space, a multidisciplinary arts venue located at EFA Center on West 39th Street in Midtown Manhattan.

About the Theme:

EFA Project Space will devote its 2020 and 2021 programming seasons to "BRIGHT FUTURES,"* a thematically curated series of exhibitions, public events, seminars, and workshops that tie together New York’s diverse communities and promote art as a force for social change.

To embrace a "bright future" is to rebuff the current mood of political, social, and ecological despair. As a response to the interwoven global political and planetary crises that we collectively face, “BRIGHT FUTURES" proposes a need to recenter art around community-based and future-looking practices that engage with politics and poetics, and fuse belief and praxis in the promise of a better world. These practices are decolonial, anti-exploitative, anti-extractive, and promote justice, democracy, collaboration, care, repair, access, migration, and mutual aid against top down hegemonic and authoritarian political structures; they are formally exploratory and interdisciplinary, combining untried tactics with a focus on process and method. To explore: conflict, resolution, cohesion, reparation, fugue, survival, now utopias, other futurisms, new formalisms, alternative hedonisms, counter-subjectivities, etc.

*With credit due to the bright work of artist and curator Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, a collaborator in Project Space’s 2018 and 2019 seasons, and curator of the 2018 Endless Biennial (December, 2018) on the theme of Optimism.


Applicants may submit a letter of inquiry for one of the following (and only one):

Exhibitions – will be presented over 6 to 8 weeks and may include up to 10 artists, but may also be conceived as shorter-term exhibitions or 2 or 3 person shows that respond to our curatorial theme. Exhibitions should compliment Project Space’s mission and present an appropriate use of the space.

Projects – one-off or multi-day public events that may include: solo artist performances (both curated by a curator or proposed by the artist), workshops, skillshares & learning sites, seminars, panel discussions, conversations, etc. Projects should compliment Project Space’s mission and present an appropriate use of the space.


Letters of inquiry are due by December 15, 2019. Submissions will be reviewed by our Advisory Committee and invited guest jurors. Selected applicants will be invited in late January to submit a full proposal by March 1, 2020; from those, selected exhibitions and projects will be scheduled between January-December, 2021.

EFA Project Space is especially excited to support:

artist-curated exhibitions that represent important developments from within the broader arts field;

representatives of diverse and inclusive communities that are not traditionally supported in mainstream arts institutions;

joint collaborations with arts organizations and collectives whose missions intersect with our own, or that create space for conversation across disciplines and communities;

independent curator-led projects that construct deep conceptual and theoretical frameworks;

individuals or collectives with an established background in one subset of the arts field (writers, artists, administrators) who wish to take part in a curatorial incubator for first time curators;

process based exercises, encouraging experimentation through the creation of new work;

dynamic, interactive projects that challenge the standard exhibition format while reaching the broadest possible audience.