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Free Your Mind:


Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) is seeking multidisciplinary artists to showcase original work for “Free Your Mind,” an exhibition conceived and curated by Shenna Vaughn. 

Many artists struggle to find the will to create, while they endure circumstances preventing them from seeking resources. This exhibition looks forward to giving these artists the opportunity to break these heavy chains and shackles, transcending the physical and nurturing our mental, and ultimately spiritual, being. We are looking for artists who are willing to go on an adventure past their creative blocks, insecurities, doubts, fears, and struggles, and submit artwork specifically created for the freedom of their mind. 

Any idea, any concept, any medium--whether it is abstract, representational, figurative, surreal—if you have a story to tell or special technique to display, it is all welcomed. This is a safe space to celebrate your freedom through display of your art. Give yourself permission to push past your own critique and create from a space of wonder and exploration. Show us who you are, tell your stories, and speak your truth on what it is like to be free! The exhibition will be on display in JCAL’s galleries from July 8, 2023 to September 1, 2023 and is part of our Visual Voices curatorial initiative. Artists selected for this exhibition will each receive a $200 stipend. 


About Visual Voices:


Visual Voices, is a cohort of emerging and midcareer curators who will receive, from 2023 to 2025, the fiscal, strategic and institutional support to propose and mount exhibitions in JCAL’s galleries in order to amplify Queens-based BIIPOC (Black, Immigrant, Indigenous, People of Color) artists. Visual Voices curators will identify, cultivate and elevate emerging BIIPOC talent, and produce artist talks, workshops and demonstrations. Visual Voices reflects our leadership’s conviction that a diverse community isn’t defined top-down by a cultural institution, but rather by giving agency and power to a community to define itself.




· Solo artists only; no collectives or collaborations will be considered;

· NYC-based artists are encouraged to apply; priority is given to Queens based artists. 

· Artist has not exhibited at JCAL, either solo or in a group exhibition, since January 1, 2020;

· Artists under 18 may participate with parental or guardian consent, with the minimum age being 13.


JCAL welcomes artists of all races, colors, religions, languages, gender identities, sexual orientations, national origins, ages, disabilities, and socioeconomic and marital statuses. Those who identify as part of underrepresented communities, and whose work centers on the artist’s personal experiences and observations, are especially welcome and encouraged to apply. 


Application Materials (PDF or Word Only):


Only one application per artist will be accepted. A completed application must contain elements detailed below. Maximum file size is 100MB per file.


A. Artist Statement

Introduce yourself and your journey as an artist (500 words max).


B. Works for Consideration

Submit up to 5 individual works, that are original to you, as follows:

Up to 2 high-quality images per individual work;

Title, date, medium of work, and dimensions of the work;

Short description of each work (100 words max);

Special exhibition directions, if appropriate, per work (100 words max).


C. Artist CV (optional)

Include a CV if you have one available.


Work will be reviewed based on quality and the completeness of the accompanying application. You may be contacted with follow-up questions regarding the nature of the work and the manner of intended exhibition. Artists are responsible for transporting and collecting all artwork to and from the institution. JCAL reserves the right to not exhibit artwork that does not meet display criteria or does not align with the institution’s mission. Submissions received after June 9th will not be accepted.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.