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Material Matters: A Members’ Exhibition in Collaboration with the Fitchburg Art Museum

Registration Deadline: February 23, 2022

Drop off period: March 3 - March 6, 2022

Exhibition run: March 17 - April 24, 2022

Reception: March 18, 2022, 6-9 PM

Ten Years of Call and Response

For the last decade, ArtsWorcester and the Fitchburg Art Museum have partnered on the annual “Call and Response” exhibition, an idea drawn from democratic and musical traditions in African and African Diaspora cultures. FAM begins with the call: a loan of ten artworks from their permanent collection, all on a single theme). ArtsWorcester artist members then respond to the loaned artworks by creating work for a members’ exhibition. From that members’ exhibition, FAM curators select ten pieces to take back to Fitchburg, where they are hung alongside the original loan in the museum. To date, 77 individual artists have received this honor.

Material Matters

The first Call and Response loan featured ten pieces from FAM’s extensive African Collection, all traditional crafts and ritual objects. A decade later, their collection has grown to include contemporary African artists as well.

The 2022 loan features a range of subject matter and media, reflecting the capacity of different materials within African art. Your task is to respond to these artworks. Explore them through your own medium, or try something new. Consider the materiality of your own work as you create. Why do you choose to portray an image in paint, not in a photograph? Or vice versa? View the loan here.

Submitted artworks must correlate in some way to 1-3 artworks from the FAM loan. You will be asked to identify the work(s) that inspired your piece when submitting. All media are welcome, including but not limited to fine craft, painting, photography, sculpture, digital, and video.

10% of ArtsWorcester’s art sale commissions will support African Community Education (ACE), which provides educational, leadership, and cultural programming for African refugee and immigrant youth. Crocodile River Music provides music at the opening reception for Material Matters.


Please read this list thoroughly before registering your work. Any works that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

  • Current ArtsWorcester membership is required to submit. If membership fees are a financial obstacle to participation, please write alice@artsworcester.org or ask in the galleries about the Pay It Forward Fund.
  • Each artist may submit one artwork.
  • All work must respond directly to one or more artwork(s) on loan from FAM. Artists must indicate the FAM artwork(s) that inspired their piece on the registration form.
  • All submissions must be made through this Submittable form.
  • All work must be original, created within the last five years, and not previously exhibited at ArtsWorcester. For example, a monoprint or screen print is permitted, but a giclee print of a painting is not.
  • Two-dimensional or wall-hanging artworks must not exceed 36” in any direction, including frame.
  • Three-dimensional artworks that do not hang on the wall are limited to 90” in height and 36” at the widest point.
  • Artworks suspended from the ceiling are limited to 25 pounds.
  • Works must be exhibition-ready with framing and wire as appropriate. Alternative hanging methods (suspended from the ceiling, installed with magnets, etc.) must be tested prior to submission to ensure successful installation, and additional required hardware must be provided.
  • Video artists must provide their own screening device that fits the size requirements of two-dimensional artworks.
  • All artwork submissions must include one high-quality image to be included on the exhibition website.
  • Artwork must be brought to ArtsWorcester, 44 Portland Street, Worcester, MA during the designated drop off period. ArtsWorcester cannot accept or return artworks by mail.
  • Artists receive sixty percent of each sale made through our galleries.
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.