Artist: Call for Proposals

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Northern announces a call for a tenth round of Art(ists) on the Verge commissions (AOV10), which will take place from March 2018 – April 2019.

AOV is an intensive, mentor-based fellowship program for 5 Minnesota-based, emerging artists working experimentally at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture with a focus on network-based practices that are interactive and/or participatory. AOV is generously supported by the Jerome Foundation. Links to past AOV programs and fellows’ work can be found here.

Submission Deadline

Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 11:59 pm, CST.

Click here to submit your proposal

Information Sessions

We will be holding optional info sessions on the following dates.

  • Wednesday, December 6, 6pm, at 147 Holden St, Minneapolis, MN 55405. Enter through the back door.
  • Thursday, January 4, 6pm, at 147 Holden St, Minneapolis, MN 55405. Enter through the back door.

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Art(ists) On the Verge Background

In 2008 Northern with the support of the Jerome Foundation inaugurated the Art(ists) On the Verge program. Information about the first AOV program is here. Information about the 2010 AOV2 program is here. Information about the 2011-12 AOV3 program is here. Information about the 2012-13 AOV4 program is here. Information about the 2013-14 AOV5 program is here. Information about the 2014-2015 AOV6 program is here. Information about the 2015-2016 AOV7 program is here. Information about the 2016-2017 AOV8 program is here. Information about the 2017-2018 AOV9 program is here.

AOV10 is based on the experience of and lessons learned from the first nine Art(ists) On the Verge programs, and its core goal remains to support network-based, social/participatory/interactive, experimental art practice by Minnesota-based emerging artists with the following key elements:

  • critical support and evaluation
  • monetary and technical resources
  • audience development and institutional recognition through presentation, exhibition, and publication

AOV10 Fellowship Program

The AOV10 Fellowship program is co-directed by Steve Dietz, Piotr Szyhalski and, new this year, Mike Hoyt. A total of five $5,000 commissions will be awarded with additional support for technical development and public presentation available. Each commissioned artist will participate in an intensive 12-month fellowship program from March 2018 to April 2019, culminating in an exhibition at the Soap Factory in March 2019. The fellowship program consists of several elements:

  • monthly group meetings, often with outside experts in the field
  • monthly meetings with individually selected mentors
  • one-on-one meetings with AOV Co-Directors Dietz, Hoyt and Szyhalski
  • consultation with a writing mentor
  • two critiques with external reviewers
  • technical review/prototype session prior to exhibition
  • exhibition and programming at the end of the fellowship
  • volunteer participation in Northern Spark
  • critical writing and publication documenting the fellowship work
  • opportunity to use studio space at the Soap Factory during the fellowship
  • staff and installation support from the Soap Factory

Participation in fellowship programs is not optional and can only be done in person. Please note that all group monthly meetings will occur on Fridays and Saturdays: March 24, April 13, May 12, June 16 (Northern Spark), June 23, July 14, September 8, September 21, October 13, November 17, November 30, January 19, February 16 March 16, and April 13. Some of these dates may change, but if you cannot attend at least 12 of these dates in person, you should not apply.


A key component of the AOV program is the mentor, who is someone who meets with the artist on a regular basis throughout the year. The mentor may be an artist, a technologist, a curator, a poet. There is no fixed roster of mentors. Northern Lights can help identify potential mentors, who receive an honorarium, but it is finally the artist’s choice. Past mentors have included: Morgan Adamson, Ta-coumba Aiken, Christine Baeumler, Christopher Baker, Paul Bernhardt, Valentine Cadieux, Melinda Childs, Jeff Crouse, Peter Happel Christian, Jan Estep, Greg Fitz, Monica Haller, Douglas Hegley, Pao Houa Her, Alexa Horochowski, Mike Hoyt, Wing Young Huie, Noah Keesecker, John Keston, John Kim, Chris Larson, Abinadi Meza, Katherine Milton, Kevin Obsatz, Matt Olson, Jehra Patrick, Natasha Pestich, Sarah Peters, Sarah Rara, Stevie Rexroth, Jenny Schmid, Piotr Szyhalski, Jasmine Tang, Diane Willow, and  Marcus Young.


The AOV10 Fellowship is not a research grant. It is expected that all AOV10 Fellows will publicly exhibit or otherwise present a final project as part of the exhibition and programming at the Soap Factory in March, 2019.


A printed publication of the final projects with critical commentary by at least one outside writer will be produced for AOV10.

AOV10 Project Criteria

AOV10 is for artists working experimentally at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture with a focus on network-based practices that are interactive and/or participatory.

  • Experimental. How does your proposed project fall outside or straddle traditional and discipline-based notions of art practice? Note: this is not a research grant and personal experimentation with a practice that is new to you does not in itself constitute experimental practice.
  • Intersection of art, technology and digital culture. Your proposal should incorporate technology in a meaningful way. It does not have to be new technology, but if your technology is the pencil, it should be an innovative use. Art is broadly defined in relation to digital culture. For example, video games or Twitter can be your art.
  • Network-based practices. Primarily, this means the Internet and any related or dependent platform or protocol from Second Life to Facebook to FTP. Your project does not have to be network exclusive, however, and we encourage hybridity, particularly in relation to physical public space.
  • Interactive and/or participatory. Your project should have some significant, dynamic component to it, which is not fixed.

The AOV Fellowship is to support artists’ practice that often falls between the cracks of traditional programming opportunities. We’re convincible about your approach to the core criteria. However, AOV is not a program in which technology is used to expand upon, distribute or document work in other disciplines.


Applicants must be:

  • Minnesota residents at the time of application and during the fellowship program, March 2017 – April 2018.
  • Considered an emerging artist. An emerging artist shows significant potential yet is under-recognized by peers, curators, producers, critics and administrators. Evidence of some professional achievement is expected, but not an extensive record of accomplishment. Full-time students are not eligible, with one exception: if an artist enrolls in an undergraduate or graduate degree program or takes classes while maintaining a current and active professional practice of creating and presenting work to the public, she/he is eligible.
  • Committed to participating fully and regularly in the fellowship program.

Selection Process

Artist proposals are sought through an open call.


A jury consisting of local and national art, design, and architecture professionals will make the final selection. Five projects will be selected by the jury. The jurors include Kate Arford, Gallery Director, The Soap Factory; Steve Dietz, Artistic Director, Northern; Mike Hoyt, Artist, Creative Community Liaison, Pillsbury House + Theatre; Nora Khan, Writer; Piotr Szyhalski, Professor, Media Arts, Minneapolis College of Art and Design; and Pramila Vasudevan, Artist, Artistic Director, Aniccha Arts.


Proposals will be evaluated primarily based on their excellence and applicability to the program (see Project Criteria). In addition, each proposal should demonstrate and will be evaluated on:

  • Quality of proposal.
  • Quality of past work as demonstrated through work samples. Note, this does not mean that the artist is required to be expert in all the technology or fields required to successfully complete the project.
  • Ability to artistically accomplish in a timely manner an artwork for public presentation as demonstrated in prior work.
  • Articulated interest in participating in a creative and critical process with peers and mentors. Note, it is acceptable but not required to have a mentor in mind you would like to work with. Mentors receive a small honorarium for their participation.


Selections will be announced by March 8, 2018.

Application Online

Applications are due Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 11:59 pm, CST. Click here to submit your proposal.


Please note that the following elements should be separate PDF files.

Checklist for AOV10 Application

(Include all of the following. All files should be uploaded as .PDF files.)

  • Artist Statement
  • Proposal
  • List only of work sample URLs and descriptions
  • Bio + Resume
  • Budget and Timeline
  • References (optional)

Artist Statement

Your Artist Statement (2 pages max) should articulate both how your artistic goals match the program criteria and your interest in participating in an intensive fellowship program.

Project Proposal

Your project proposal (2 pages max) should discuss your project’s core concept, your approach to realizing it, the kind of support you think you will need, and what the public outcome will be. The project proposal should be as specific as possible about goals and outcomes. It is less critical to know exactly how these will be accomplished. In any case, the project proposal is considered a starting point, and we recognize that it may change, even radically, over the course of the Fellowship.

Work Samples List

Provide a list of your work samples with title, date, medium, link, and a brief description for each sample.

All work samples should be accessible via the web. They can take any form, as long as they are accessible via the web. You may include up to 10 work samples with no more than 4 minutes of video. Note: more is not necessarily better, and you should include only work samples relevant to your proposal. If one of your work samples is a website, include specific pages to view and how to navigate to them, if there is no direct URL.

Bio + Resume

Include a short narrative bio, 150 words max, as well as a complete resume of exhibitions and related work.

Budget and Timeline

Include your best estimate of a production timeline and project budget, which can include your own fee. The budget is not determinative, and both it and the timeline can and probably will change, but the scope should roughly match the resources and timeline of the Fellowship program.


References are optional. Include up to three letters of reference. The references are most useful in relation your ability to work in a collaborative environment and follow through on commitments. Your work samples will be your primary indicators of artistic excellence. Ask your references to write about their experience with your process and their estimation of your ability to benefit from the AOV10 program.

Sample Proposal

To see examples of a successful proposal, click here:
– AOV7 Sylvestre Sample Proposal
AOV8 Yang Sample Proposal


Email AOV[at]northern[dot]lights[dot]mn with any questions.


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