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Philadelphia Black History: The People’s Stories DEADLINE January 3, 2024

January 3

Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy

City Hall, Room 116
Philadelphia, PA 19107 United States

Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy Call for Artists

Deadline: January 3, 2024

Artist Honorarium: $100

The Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy’s Art in City Hall program issues a call for local artists for a Black History Month exhibition entitled: Philadelphia Black History: The People’s Stories. The exhibit will be presented as an installation of artworks printed on 24” x 24” vinyl tiles arranged on the floors of multiple hallways in Philadelphia’s historic City Hall.


Philadelphia Black History: The People’s Stories is inspired by the 5,000 forgotten Black souls buried at the rediscovered Bethel Burying Ground in the Queen Village neighborhood of Philadelphia. We honor their historic significance as members of the nation’s first free Black community by pausing to reflect on the many untold stories of Black Philadelphians in our own time. This call asks artists to submit works that help tell these stories, whether they were members of one’s family, a prominent figure in the Philadelphia Black community, or someone personally significant to the artist, whose life should be elevated and remembered through visual art. This artistic tribute must honor a deceased individual of African descent who lived in Philadelphia.

To present and help tell these important stories, the selected artworks will be printed onto vinyl tiles and curatorially arranged on multiple floors in City Hall. Each tile will have a QR code that will invite visitors to learn more about the Black Philadelphia ancestor in the work. Each artist can only reflect on one person and submit one work of art. Selected artists will receive an honorarium of $100. Please see the Rules of Exhibit section below for more specific instructions on how to submit artwork.

Philadelphia Black History: The People’s Stories is part of a series of thematic art projects in 2024, organized by the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, to reflect the importance of the Bethel Burying Ground’s historic site in advance of its upcoming Public Art memorial project by artist Karyn Olivier. Ms. Olivier’s design at Bethel Burying Ground entitled: “Her Luxuriant Soil” will comprise of multiple elements, including stone pavers with engraved inscriptions of the interred to tell their stories. As an homage to her project and her use of pavers, this call is an opportunity for artists to tell their stories through tiles in the People’s Building, historic City Hall.


This call is open to all artists from Philadelphia working in two-dimensional media. Eligibility is also extended to students from Philadelphia’s high schools and colleges.

Rules of Exhibition:

Artists are invited to create an account through Submittable.com to digitally submit their artwork.  Because Art in City Hall/OACCE will manage the printing and installation of the 24” x 24” vinyl tiles, there will be no need to deliver original work.

  • Each artist can only submit ONE work of art to be considered.
  • Each selected artist will receive an honorarium of $100.
  • There is no application fee.
  • Submitted art must be by the artist and not a reproduction of someone else’s work or belonging to someone’s private collection.
  • For consistency, artists are asked to size their artwork at 24” x 24”, uploading with a high resolution of 150 dpi, 3600 x 3600 pixels. PDF, PNG, or TIF files are preferred.

Artist Statement:

To help tell their story, artists will be asked to provide additional information and answer the following questions on Submittable with a word count not to exceed 250. OACCE will create a QR code to link to this information from the installed exhibition.

  • Title of work
  • Name of Black Philadelphian
  • Dates and neighborhood where they lived.
  • Their occupation, interests, or contributions to Philadelphia life.
  • Does this ancestor relate to you, and if so, how?
  • How do you wish they be remembered?
  • What else would you like to tell us about them?

Additional information:

Exhibition Dates: February 12 – March 29, 2024

Exhibition location: City Hall, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Floors, NE corner

Tentative Event Date: Tuesday, February 13th


The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) closes the gap in access to the arts for all Philadelphians and is committed to equitable support of culture and creativity throughout the city’s neighborhoods. More information, please visit: www.creativephl.org


Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
City Hall, Room 116
Philadelphia, PA 19107 United States
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(215) 686-8446
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