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The National Museum of African American Music Seeks Submissions of Creative Artwork from Visual Artists

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The National Museum of African American Music is set to open in the summer of 2020 and will be the only museum dedicated solely to preserving African American music traditions and celebrating the influence African Americans have had on music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring musical heroes of the past into the present.

African American music museum hosts call for entries to feature original art installations

When the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) opens its doors to the public in the summer of 2020, the first-of-its-kind institution located in the heart of downtown Nashville will be home to more than 1,500 historical artifacts that reflects the development, influence, and impact of African Americans on more than 50 genres and sub-genres including country, jazz, blues, gospel, R&B and hip hop. With construction of the museum currently underway and the layouts of the five primary galleries completed, the NMAAM curatorial team is now looking at ways to fill some of the additional open spaces in the museum with relevant and engaging original public artwork.

Starting today, NMAAM is issuing a call for submissions to all visual artists to submit original artwork for consideration as permanent installations within the museum. The goal of this request is to include artwork within the 56,000 square-foot facility that will enhance the appearance of three distinct areas within the building that are not occupied by other artifacts. The addition of original artwork will create a visual experience that aligns with the museum’s content and blends well with the overall aesthetic of the accompanying galleries. Submitted artwork will be juried by an internal art selection committee with three selected artists being awarded between $50,000 – $70,000 for the creation and installation of their work.

“The [NMAAM] curatorial team is very excited about the opportunity to review art submissions from all around the world and we encourage artists to send us their best music-inspired work for consideration,” said Dr. Dina Bennett, Curatorial Director at NMAAM. 

“As much as musical artists have their place in celebrating the contributions of African American music to the world, visual artists also play a pivotal role in preserving the legacy and informing the culture. Our hope is that by opening space in the museum to visual artists, we can add some original pieces to our public spaces that will enhance the stories tell as well as share something visually dynamic for our guests to enjoy,” said Bennett.

The NMAAM call for artwork is open to all emerging artists (18 and older) regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or race. No student art will be accepted and work should be professional in nature. Artwork submissions should be connected to the African American experience and musical in context aligning with the museum’s mission and vision to provide a transformative, inspirational and educational experience for an international audience of museum guests. Artwork should also be durable, able to sustain various climate conditions, resistant to UV damage and safe for public interaction. Projected spaces within the museum where artwork will live include; the Grand Foyer which is the main entry point for the museum, the Lower Lobby which is a gathering space for ticket sales and large-scale public events and the Multipurpose Rooms which will be used for a variety of educational classes and community programs.

Artists interested in submitting artwork will need to submit a completed application by Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 11:59 P.M. CST to the NMAAM Art Selection Committee via the NMAAM submission page at http://NMAAM.org/ArtCall For full details on the materials that should be included in the application packet, as well as complete competition rules, download the Request for Proposal for Public Art on the NMAAM website at www.NMAAM.org. Additional questions can also be sent to artcall@nmaam.org.

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