SXSW is Accepting Art Proposals

by Brandon Zech September 23, 2018
Infinity Room by Refik Anadol at SXSW 2017

Infinity Room by Refik Anadol at SXSW 2017. Photo courtesy of the artist

For the third year in a row, Austin’s SXSW is accepting art proposals. Meant to be a continuation of the festival’s takeover of Texas’ capital every March, SXSW’s art program looks for works that exemplify the core concepts of the festival: “creativity, culture, storytelling, and innovation.”

While SXSW initially began as a music-centric event in 1987, it quickly incorporated technology and film components, and is now one of the country’s premiere venues for leading presentations and lectures about recent innovations.

That said, it took the festival some years to add a visual art component. Though Austin’s art scene is strong, many of the city’s artist-run organizations would rent out their galleries during the festival, since space during the week-long event is such a commodity. Of course, while this hasn’t meant that visual art has been absent from the SXSW week in the city, it wasn’t officially part of the program until 2017.

Conductors and Resistance by Ronen Sharabani

Conductors and Resistance by Ronen Sharabani at SXSW 2017. Photo: Errich Petersen

Now, SXSW is accepting art proposals for it 2019 event for indoor spaces, outdoor spaces, and park spaces. The application is open to design studios, collectives, and individual artists, and the festival says that it makes an effort to show works by both emerging and established artists who fit in with the festival’s mission.

More information is below, along with tips from SXSW on applying to its art program. The deadline to apply is October 11, 2018. To apply, go here. To see past SXSW art installations, go here.

To learn about the Satellite Art Show, a new art fair coming to Austin during the run of SXSW 2019, go here.

Review Process
The review process consists of an internal SXSW Art team review of each proposal in addition to an external review from our SXSW Advisory Board Members.

Selection and Display
SXSW will select installations to be displayed during 2019 SXSW, and provide up to $10,000 to each selected project for the completion of the SXSW Art Program project.

Tips for Applying
Think in 3D
With creatives of all stripes in attendance at SXSW, we are looking for works that push the envelope in terms of interactivity and immersion. The SXSW creative community draws inspiration from the works of art on display at the event, and uses that inspiration to inspire innovation in their respective fields, so we urge all applicants to the Art Program to think in 3D.

Be Innovative
Accepted works will be displayed in non-traditional spaces, such as conference-style rooms, so use that to your advantage by creating a one-of-a-kind installation that will transform the space. Additionally, the diverse audience at SXSW wants to see works that take chances.

Go Big
Both the indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces are large. We encourage artists to take full advantage of these spaces to best represent their work in a format that will appeal to our audience of thousands of creatives, global professionals, industry leaders, and more.

Be Thorough
The SXSW Art Program team spends months looking over applications to find the best work. Please take the time to provide the best application you possibly can, and also thoroughly proof your work before sending it in. This way we can make our decision based on the quality of the idea, not the quality of the application. Check out the detailed description about the art application and process before you start prepping your application.

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