Apply: R&D

2018 Deadline TBA

The 2017 R&D application is available for download here (click me)

The 2017 R&D application instructions are available for download here (click me)

SPACES is exploring the concept of Context, during its 2019 R&D season, in order to bridge different artistic disciplines through a holistic framework, connect various projects across multiple platforms, and encourage an investigative examination of timely issues. We invite artists to respond to the many dimensions of Context, including but not limited to: context with regards to systems, circumstances, actions, and interpretation. We are especially interested in projects that expand conventional notions of Context while offering new insight into contemporary art and exhibition-making. We encourage projects that leverage the assets of Northeast Ohio, including display opportunities within the public realm.

What is R&D?

R&D (Research & Development) invites artists, curators and other cultural producers to articulate their investigation of ideas through a supported exhibition or project that may take the form of group, solo, or collaborative endeavors.


This call-for-entries is open to all established or emerging artists, curators and cultural producers who are 21 years old or older. Applications must show a response to the theme of Context, a strong conceptual grounding, and a willingness to delve into research and then develop that research into projects.

Risa Puno: Exhaust, Photo by Jerry Mann

Application Details

Each application must include:

  • Completed R&D application form — PDF format
  • one-page C.V. — PDF format
  • work samples

How to Submit an Application

The R&D Application Form & Guidelines tells you everything you need to know about the R&D application process. To find out more please look over the FAQ below. Please email all materials to

Application Evaluation

Applications are evaluated by a porous committee of artists, community members, board members and SPACES staff. In some instances, artists are invited to participate in R&D without submitting an application. Applicants will be notified via email as soon as possible after the review on the status of their application. Please do not call or email to follow up.

FAQs (or the questions we assume you'll ask)

Q: I have applied to SPACES before, do I need to apply again?
A: Yes. Even if we retained your material for future consideration, we would like to see your more recent work. And since we are organizing R&D in 2018 under an annual theme, you must describe how your proposed project addresses the theme of Context.

Q: I exhibited at SPACES in _____. Can I apply again?
A: Give it at least a two year rest before you apply again.

Q: What does this do for me?
A: You will gain more of a relationship with SPACES and its staff who will do what they can to help you further your ideas. You get an honorarium, public project and press. Sounds good to me.

Q: I am a traditional landscape/figurative/still life painter/photographer/sculptor. Should I apply to exhibit at SPACES?
A: You can, but I wouldn't if I were you. Our mission statement asserts our dedication to artists who explore and experiment. If your work doesn't have strong conceptual grounding and isn't striving to test boundaries, we may not be a good fit. It's not you, it's us.

Q: I am a traditional landscape/figurative/still life painter/photographer/sculptor but I make my work blindfolded/hanging upside down/some other schtick. Should I apply to exhibit at SPACES?
A: See previous answer.

Q: I am a landscape/figurative/still life painter/photographer/sculptor but I make my work as a examination of these histories and methods and my work is firmly based in contemporary theory. Should I apply to exhibit at SPACES?
A: Yes, please.

Q: In my artist/curatorial statements, I really like to use phrases like, "My work is a de-contextualization of gender identities", "My work fabricates a matrix that engages paradigms of beauty," "Body as text", and "My pieces function as the nexus of post-modern theories of consumerism and environment through the use of ephemeral materials that hint at the sublime." Is that an appropriate way to talk about my work?
A: We have no problems with work that deals in those issues, but please find some other way of talking about it.

Q: It sounds like you're not interested in older artists. Is that true?
A: That is patently false. We are interested in all artists, 21 and over, who are doing thoughtful experimental work. However, if you've ever sincerely used the phrases, "Kids these days", "That Matlock is a great lawyer", or "Get off my lawn", you may want to reconsider applying.

Q: Will being a member of SPACES help my chances of being selected?
A: No. As a current SPACES' member, you have our deepest gratitude, but it won't affect our decisions.

Q: I don't know how to format images/video/sound digitally for submission. What should I do?
A: Rely on the kindness of friends... and Google.

Q: Digital images don't do my work justice. Can I bring my work to the gallery for review?
A: Nope.

Q: What is a work sample list?
A: This is a list that the selection committee uses as a point of reference while viewing your work samples. A good work sample list includes the following information: artist’s name (usually listed at the top), filename, title, year, media, dimensions/duration and a brief explanatory note for each piece as needed. A good work sample list is easy to read and uses a legible typeface and font size. Keep in mind that these are often viewed in low-light situations and each image is up for only a short period of time. Overly verbose explanations of each piece will not be completely read before the image disappears from the screen.

Q: What is a support sketch?
A: Because we work with artists who push the boundaries of their practice, their images of previous work may not entirely relate to their project proposal. In that case, we’d like you to somehow illustrate what you’re thinking of doing at SPACES and how it relates to the theme of Context.

Q: Should I send postcards/catalogs/reviews of my work along with my application?
A: Please send only what we ask for.

Q: Can I drop off my application at SPACES in person.
A: No. All applications should be emailed to

Q: Can I pay my application fee online?
A: Great news: there IS NO application fee this year!

Q: When will I be notified of acceptance/rejection?
A: Reviews of work typically happen within a month of the deadline. We then have some clerical/boring things to do after that. Please don't call or email SPACES to ask about the status of your application unless four months has passed beyond the initial deadline.

Q: Do I get to choose if I want to be in a group or solo format?
A: You have the choice to include your work or not. The nature of the projects is decided by the SPACES staff and programming committee, and we will work with you to make sure your work is properly represented. If you do not agree with the platform SPACES selects for your work, you can gracefully decline participation.

Q: Does SPACES have insurance that will cover my artwork?
A: Yes. The specifics can be discussed if you are selected.

See Also:

How to Submit Applications for Exhibitions: Part 1
How to Submit Applications for Exhibitions: Part 2

Image above: Risa Puno, Exhaust, Photo by Jerry Mann

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