BC’s Outdoor Mural Project Open for Submissions

Bellevue College Mural
Photo by BC's Outdoor Murals Committee.

Want to submit your artwork for the chance to win $2,000? Bellevue College has an ongoing outdoor mural project and the selected artwork will be featured on the walls along student corridors on BC’s main campus. The idea for the mural project came from Bellevue College Interim President Gary Locke. Locke was inspired by “the wheat paste mural ‘Never Again Is Now’ by Erin Shigaki,” according to Kite Arner. Arner is from the Bellevue College art department and is working on the BC Outdoor Murals Project.

The selected murals will be wheat pasted on the Bellevue College campus at various locations. The deadline to submit artwork is March 4, 2022, by 5 p.m. PST.

If you are interested in submitting artwork, the eligibility requirements can be found on the call for submissions page. Here is an excerpt from the Outdoor Mural Project website: “Submissions are open to Bellevue College members, including students, alumni, staff, faculty, and emeritus. Submissions may be from an individual or a group, such as a class or student affinity group (clubs, or organizations). In the selection, preference will be given to submissions by current students and groups including current students. Work may be the original design of the BC community members themselves, or may be a collaboration with, or nomination of an outside artist they feel is part of their community and/or whose work … represents their community.”

Arner explains the theme of the submission by saying, “The project is designed around a core theme of celebrating social equity, social justice and the diversity of the BC community. Visually highlighting these ideas, which are essential to the culture and growth of Bellevue College, is a primary focus of our work.

“The project is also envisioned as a welcome to students returning to campus in spring of 2022, after the campus closures due to COVID-19.

“And, as the project is planned to be an ongoing display with murals rotating yearly, this project will continue to beautify our campus, and … provide an ongoing opportunity to our community to show their artwork.”

This opportunity not only connects beginner artists to more experienced ones, but it gives students and staff the opportunity to get a foothold in the artist industry. Arner explained this by saying, “Public art is a very hard industry to break into. Emerging artists often face a catch-22: they need to have been given a public commission in order to be trusted to receive a public commission. This has especially acted as a barrier to artists from underrepresented and underserved communities. Projects like this, that are temporary and paid, provide an important stepping stone to emerging artists. By providing them real world experience, and the checkbox of receiving a public commission, they are in a better position to compete for future public art calls.”

Of course, the honorarium is a big deal. The winning artists will receive $2,000, which is a large sum of money for any college student.

Another unique opportunity is that the aforementioned mural artist Shigaki is willing to work with students to put together a proposal for those who are interested. You can contact the committee here and express your interest to work alongside Shigaki.

“I think there is power in students seeing student art on the walls of their college. I think there is also power in students seeing the work of artists who have developed their artist voice further in their career and practice,” Arner said. The undeniable power of artwork comes from the voice of students. Artwork inspires, and having the chance to make your voice heard on a large scale with large advantages is an optimal opportunity.

Arner concluded by saying, “I would encourage any and all reading this to please spread the word! The more people hear about the project, the more submissions it will get, and the more artwork the committee will have to choose from. And nominate, collaborate, build a proposal and submit more art! We want to see what you have to share!”

The first thing to do if you are interested in submitting your artwork is to visit the project’s website. Then, if you have any remaining questions, you can email the committee. Good luck to those who submit!