The Library Company of Philadelphia warmly invites creative visionaries – visual artists, activists, educators, poets, playwrights, passionate scholars, musicians, technologists, performers, or any combination thereof – to submit proposals for participation in Beyond Glass Cases, a project funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Interested parties will submit proposals for an installation, artwork, or other form of engagement that responds to Liberty Displaying the Arts & Sciences, or the Genius of America Encouraging the Emancipation of the Blacks, a painting commissioned by the Library Company in 1792.
Three separate but related projects, as well as a 2025 culminating exhibition and event, comprise the scope of Beyond Glass Cases. In addition to Liberty Displaying the Arts & Sciences, a second project will explore the work of Samuel George Morton (1799-1851) through a collection of his papers. The third project invites applicants to respond to a collection object of their choosing. Synergy among partners on all three projects will be fostered and encouraged. Proposals for both Liberty and the third project will be accepted.
- Offer an experimental mode or method of engaging with the object(s)
- Attempt to advance understanding of the painting’s meaning in today’s society while holding space for its historical significance
- Transcend the traditional exhibition model of object-on-display-with-interpretive-label
- May take the form of a multimedia or traditional work of art, a performance, an interactive website, or other
- Projects are encouraged to take place within the library’s exhibition spaces (dimensions and specs available). Proposals for installations in other regional spaces will also be considered provided that they do not exceed the budget.
Potential avenues of exploration include, but are not limited to:
- Identifying hidden narratives within the painting
- Uncovering untold stories through oral histories and personal testimonies
- Exploring the role of digital technologies in revitalizing marginalized histories
- Investigating the impact of dominant narratives on contemporary social issues and movements
- Developing inclusive educational resources and curricula that address historical gaps
Successful applicants will receive a payment of $10,000, payable in installments at the onset and completion of their participation in Beyond Glass Cases.
Production Resources & Budget
- Up to $10,000 for production of project (separate from $10,000 project stipend)
- Funding and technical support for 3-D immersive technology in partnership with Udeesa Systemics & Technology, if desired (not required)
- Publicity for project on social and other media
- Opportunity to design and/or participate in project events and programs
- Assigned liaison(s) on the Library Company staff
- Support and guidance from the project advisory committee as well as the staff project team.
Timeline for Liberty Project
August 18, 2023 Successful applicant(s) notified
September – December 2023: Project is in production
January – May 2024: Project debuts to public
Through December 2024: Project on display (if installation)
January – June 2025: Project partners may be asked to participate in a culminating exhibition in 2025, and/or related programs through the project’s conclusion in June 2025.
Individuals and groups from historically marginalized communities, as well as interdisciplinary collaborations that bring together diverse perspectives, are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants are welcome and encouraged to discuss project ideas with staff before applying (please see contact info below).
Applications must include the following and may be submitted by email to email@example.com :
- A 2-3-page description of the proposed project and its alignment with the guidelines of Beyond Glass Cases
- CV(s) and / or digital portfolio
- Budget detailing how project will be completed within the $10,000 production allowance
- Description and estimated cost of any additional resources that may exceed the production budget
Applications due July 14.
Successful applicants will be notified by August 18, 2023
For questions and further information about the proposal process and project, please contact Emily Guthrie, Librarian and Project Manager for Beyond Glass Cases, firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyond Glass Cases: The Library Company of Philadelphia’s “Collections Lab” has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.