Calls for Entry

Busboys and Poets’ #Migration61 Call for Entry

Photo courtesy of Busboys and Poets.

Photo courtesy of Busboys and Poets.


Deadline: Tuesday, September 13


In 1941, a young Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917–2000) created The Migration Series, 60 paintings that described the trauma and triumph of the African American journey from the South to the North between the world wars. His “novel in fine art” fused vision and commentary within a modernist style. Intent on educating an audience about the “push-and-pull forces” within the liberation of ordinary people, Lawrence translated an African American cultural experience into a universal visual form.

So touched by Lawrence’s Migration Series in the 1940s, Alfred Barr (director/curator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York) and Duncan Phillips (director/curator of the Phillips Memorial Gallery—now The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC) acquired the 60 panels and divided them equally between the two institutions; the odd-numbered panels to The Phillips Collection and the even-numbered panels to MoMA.

From October 8, 2016–January 8, 2017, The Phillips Collection will display the complete series of 60 panels in the exhibition People on the Move–Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. As part of its socially engaged mission and practice, Busboys and Poets is collaborating with The Phillips Collection to organize #Migration61, an exhibition that asks, “What would the 61st panel of Lawrence’s Migration Series look like today?

As part of its socially engaged mission and practice, Busboys and Poets presents #Migration61, an exhibition that asks, “What would the 61st panel of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series look like today?”

The artist call is available on the Busboys and Poets website as well as published in local and regional arts publications and organizations such as Artomatic, WPA, DC Commission on the Arts, Pink Line, Black Artists of DC, Arlington Arts Center, East City Arts, Bmore Arts, etc.

Four jurors will select the work to be displayed at each Busboys and Poets location:

  • Elsa Smithgall, Curator, The Phillips Collection;
  • A. M. Weaver, Independent Art Curator and Writer
  • Andy Shallal, Owner, Busboys and Poets
  • Carol R. Dyson, Curator in Residence, Busboys and Poets

Busboys and Poets provides art insurance. The art will be available for sale if agreed upon by the artist. Busboys and Poets takes NO commission for any sales.

Artist responses will be displayed at all six Busboys and Poets locations. All art forms (except free standing three-dimensional objects) are welcome. We encourage diverse submissions—conceptual, performance, mixed media, fiber, film, video, photography, drawing, painting, etc. The only size restriction is that it has to come in and leave through the door and fit on the walls.

Artwork does NOT have to be created in the aesthetic style of Jacob Lawrence. The topic and/or content of the work though must reflect the theme of migration/emigration/immigration. The work can be assembled onsite (at 7 am in the morning or midnight).

This exhibition is open to local, regional, national, international artists.

There is a $20 application fees to help cover costs for publications (include a brochure of all exhibiting artists and their work), return shipping, and speakers’ honorariums for auxiliary community programming.

The non-refundable fee for up to 7 images is payable on the website. If mailed, please include a check or money order for that amount. Please make check payable to Busboys and Poets, #Migration61.

Please complete the online form and include a short bio and mission/artist statement along with the works. Include titles of works, medium, sizes, and brief description (if available) about why you believe the work relates to migration.

Submission fee should be submitted online. Instructions for payment are on the online application.

If unable to apply online, please submit the application via mail to:

  • #Migration61, Busboys and Poets, Box 73055, Washington, DC 20056.

The images for mailed submissions must be submitted on a CD or jump drive in JPEG format only. CDs or jump drive will only be returned if a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) with sufficient postage is included. Also include a bio and artist’s statement (one page each total).

Image files should be titled as follows: number and photo of image, media and dimensions, price, your last name, first name and contact information.  Five to seven images are required.

Include a bio and artist statement as well.

Please do not mail in original artworks.

Apply at Instructions about how to apply