Call For Art and Performers
February 3 - 11, 2023
Application period open mid July through September 23, 2022.
Have questions about becoming a PDXWLF Artist & Performer?
Download our info guide for artists and performers.
The Portland Winter Light Festival (PDXWLF) will take place February 3 - 11, 2023 and will feature pop-up art installations in windows, storefronts, and public spaces throughout the city of Portland. Each year, the event hosts upwards of 200,000 visitors and guests who come out to explore light-art installations throughout the city, visit local businesses, and celebrate art and community during the darkest time of year. The nonprofit event is family-friendly and is presented to the public for free. The mission of PDXWLF is to build community by bringing digital art to inclusive audiences while invigorating Portland in the winter.
This call is for individual artists, artist groups, and performers that do not already have a location for their installations. One installation per application, multiple applications are ok. One designated contact per application. Artists that come from BIPOC communities, LGBTQia+ communities, artists with disabilities, and other historically underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply, even if they have not shown professionally in the past.
As in previous years, installations must include a lighting component and can take the form of light-based art, sculptures in windows, colorful and creative outdoor lighting, installations in your own yard or neighborhood, video projections, performance that incorporates light, and more. All installations and performances must be family-friendly and suitable for a diverse audience.
If possible, we encourage artists to find their own venue to show their installations. Light up your buildings, exteriors, houses and yards. Find a local business that would like to showcase your work. Ask your neighbors to be involved and create a community of light around your PDXWLF exhibition. If you have artwork you’d like to show, and you have a venue to show your work in, please fill out this form: Art with Location.
PDXWLF will work to match artists to available venues. In some cases, we may love your work but not be able to find an appropriate place for the installation. In that case, we encourage you to apply again next year.
We will be placing your art in either indoor or outdoor locations. Indoor locations include pop-up sites in windows, storefronts, and empty retail spaces, and can typically display slightly smaller pieces. Outdoor-suitable art may be placed at one of the outdoor anchor art locations or other venues. Please indicate on your application if your piece is suitable for indoor or outdoor display. Note that weather can be severe in February, and if it is suitable for outdoor display, no coverage from the elements will be available.
The festival takes place over nine days. We request that when possible, all art in pop-up locations be on throughout the duration of the festival. Much of the outdoor art placed at anchor sites (World Trade Center, Pioneer Courthouse Square & The Electric Blocks) will be on only during the weekends.
In some venues, artists will be required to have their own insurance to cover their installations.
Stoicheia by Lumina Lab, photo by Dylan Evanston.
Theme: The Light of STARS
The numbers say we are not alone in the universe
They also say we are alone, here, now in our tiny corner of space.
What we know of time tells us galaxies and civilizations have been born,
grown up and turned to dust, Then once again had the pieces swept up, and used as the building blocks for tomorrow.
In July 2022 the world looked to the stars and opened a new human chapter.
We found we can see further back into time than ever before.
And what do we see?
Beautiful, beautiful chaos.
Finding out the order our minds try to impose on the universe is not real can be disconcerting for some,
but to me, it's music.
Stars ripping through nebulas like baseballs through cotton candy.
Galaxies squeezing past black holes only to have billions of stars scattered into the darkness like multicolored Christmas lights.
The colors in space are unimaginable and unending.
What we can see, and what we will never know.
Every color, every wavelength.
I see that this vastness and chaos can also create a symmetry.
Like here, on our little watery rock floating through space.
A place where we can dream, and build and reach for the stars and find the future.
This year. I ask you to look at the universe and show us your future.
I know it's a lot to ask, but I believe in you.
Because the numbers say we are all lucky to be here.
And anyone that lucky can do anything.
Rainbow City installation. Photo by Shannon Bager.
PDXWLF 2023 TIMELINE
Call for Venues/Locations and Art with Location live Monday June 27th, 2022.
Deadline 5pm PST, Friday, September 23rd.
Call for Art & Performers live mid July. Deadline 5pm PST Friday September 23rd.
Artists notified of acceptance: Rolling acceptance notices until November 1st
Deadline for submittal of vision/installation plan: Mid - November
Approval from art dept on vision/installation plan: Late November
Deadline for promotional information: Early December
Art team site visits to studios: Starting December 5th - January 13th
We will contact you to set this up
Accepted artists and performers will receive an updated timeline with their acceptance.
Window of Illusion by Tyler FuQua Creations, photo by Remaining Light Photography.
Glow Cats by Paige Tashner, photo by Hamid Shibata Bennett.
Frequently Asked Questions - ART
Q: What is the criteria you use to choose art?
Art is assessed on a competitive basis based on quality of design, form, and concept, and all artwork must incorporate light as a central component. We review submissions to assess feasibility, if the proposal can be executed safely, the history of work of the applicants, the vision for the installation, and how the pieces work with the other installations. In placing the installations, we keep in mind the availability of venues and logistics, as well as the quality and care put into fabrication.
Q: Are there stipends available?
There will be competitive stipends for artists only available between approximately $100 - $3000 for assistance with materials and supplies for creating artwork. This includes reimbursement for equipment needed for installation transportation, labor for install etc. If you are requesting a stipend, this year we require a budget detailing how you are planning on using the funds, and funds will be allocated based on a competitive assessment of the budget and art installation. Artists are expected to install and strike their own artwork, and provide all needed equipment for doing so.
Q: Why does it take you so long to choose and place the artists?
We receive hundreds of submissions and need to review them all very carefully to determine if the proposals are sound and what best fits where. We ask lots of questions of the venues and the artists to figure out the flow and how the pieces work together. We have shorter deadlines this year so we can place and notify everyone earlier than in past years.
Q: I have an art piece I’d like to show at a confirmed location, (like my business, a local coffee shop, or my back yard) what form should I fill out?
Great! You should fill out this form: Art with Location
Q: Can I choose to show my own art at a venue?
We encourage artists to find their own venues! Please fill out this form: Art with Location. PDXWLF will be curating the location of artwork at all Festival venues.
Q: I have a question that isn’t addressed here.
Please reach out to Chris Herring and Misty Post at firstname.lastname@example.org before September 16th in order for the art team to have time to respond. The application to apply to show your work at the festival can be found here.
Goat Garden of Lights, photo by Hamid Shibata Bennett.