SPACE Gallery

Call for Proposals for Freedom & Captivity: Art on Abolition
Due Mar 15 2021

The Freedom & Captivity Coalition, Indigo Arts Alliance, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at MECA, and SPACE are pleased to announce a national open call for Freedom & Captivity: Art on Abolition, a virtual exhibition and printed publication. The call is broadly inclusive and invites submissions from visual artists (painting, drawing, photography, collage, printmaking, sculpture, graphic design, multi-media work), writers (poetry, prose, experimental writing), and musicians engaged with abolitionist imaginings, as well submissions from cultural workers embedded in decarceration, social justice, and anti-racist advocacy.

We understand abolition to include both the dismantlement of oppressive and racist systems of policing, incarceration, captivity, and surveillance as well as the commitment to community-led systems of care, strategies to reduce harm, and life-nurturing futures.


We seek work that reflects and inspires the abolitionist imagination. The Freedom & Captivity coalition engages additional themes such as reimagining freedom; fighting surveillance, racism, and stereotypes; supporting youth, parents, and families impacted by the carceral system; and building inclusive communities of care.

Photo, video, or audio documentation of all mediums and disciplines is welcome, including collaborative and community-based projects. This initiative especially invites work from artists impacted by the carceral system. For currently incarcerated artists, please take note of the option to submit work by mail below.

All submissions will be considered by the Freedom & Captivity: Art on Abolition jury: Catherine Besteman, Colby College; Skye Gosselin, Maine Youth Justice; Joseph Jackson, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition; Samuel James, musician; Kelsey Halliday Johnson, SPACE; Daniel Minter, Indigo Arts Alliance; Marcia Minter, Indigo Arts Alliance; Julie Poitras Santos, the ICA at MECA; Lia Wilson, SPACE.

There are two distinct submission pathways: one for proposals for new work, another for submission of existing work. Please take note of the different deadlines below. Submissions will be limited to five works per artist.

Submission of proposals for new work: Deadline of March 15, 2021 Proposals for new work should respond to the prompt: “What does abolition look like?” or “What does abolition sound like?” Artists will be notified of their accepted proposal by April 15, 2021. Documentation of all finished work must be submitted by June 30, 2021.

This online resource list provides links to organizations, videos, podcasts, and research for learning about abolitionism.

Submission of existing work: Deadline June 1, 2021 Submissions of existing work should respond to the prompt “What does abolition look like?” or “What does abolition sound like?”

Submission of existing work by mail: Deadline June 1, 2021 For currently incarcerated individuals, we welcome submission of works by mail. All works will need to be 2D, in any medium, and no larger than 10” x 12”. Please email us at lia [​at​] in advance, and we will provide postage for the shipment of your work. All mailed works can be sent to SPACE at 538 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101. SPACE will document all works and share documentation with the artist.

Stipends: The Freedom & Captivity Coalition is currently seeking funding to support artist stipends for this virtual exhibition and publication. We will be in touch with all approved applicants about their stipends.

By submitting work, artists are agreeing to allow their work to be included in the Freedom & Captivity: Art on Abolition virtual exhibition (launching August 2, 2021) and to be considered for inclusion in the Freedom & Captivity: Art on Abolition publication (expected in 2022).