Call for Submissions - Art(ists) on the Verge 11


Jess Hirsch, Prescription Gardens, AOV8, 2017. Photo by Rik Sferra

Northern announces a call for an 11th round of Art(ists) on the Verge commissions (AOV11), which will take place from September  2019 – November 2020.

NOTE: The AOV11 program is significantly different from past years. Please review carefully.

AOV11 is an intensive, mentor-based fellowship program for 4 Minnesota-based, emerging artists working experimentally at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture with a focus on network-based practices that are interactive and/or participatory. 

AOV11 will culminate with a temporary project in public space by each fellow, which will take place sometime during September - November 2020. The 4 Fellows’ projects will not necessarily take place at the same time. Each will take place at a site to be determined,  coordinated, and prepared by the Fellow with support from the Program Co-Directors. As part of this re-focusing of the program, there will not be a culminating AOV11 group gallery exhibition. 

AOV is supported by the Jerome Foundation. Links to past AOV programs and fellows’ work can be found here.

Submission Deadline
Monday, July 29, 2019, 11:59 pm, CST.

The submission link for this call will be posted on our website no later than June 30.

Information Sessions
We will be holding optional info sessions on the following dates. 

Thursday, May 30, 6:30 - 8 pm at Pillsbury House Theater, 3501 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407  

Wednesday, July 10, 6:30 - 7:30 pm at Rondo Community Library, 461 Dale St N, St Paul, MN 55103  

Since AOV11 is significantly different, we highly recommend that you attend at least one information session.  Please sign up at this link.

Sign up for the Northern Lights newsletter to ensure you are notified of any changes.

Art(ists) On the Verge Background

In 2008 Northern with the support of the Jerome Foundation inaugurated the Art(ists) On the Verge program. Find information about previous years on our website. 

This exciting new structure of the AOV11 program evolved from our past experience and lessons learned from the first ten Art(ists) On the Verge programs. The primary difference is that final project will be presented in the public sphere rather than a gallery setting.

AOV11’s core goal remains to support network-based, social/participatory/interactive, experimental art practice by Minnesota-based emerging artists with the following key elements:

  • critical support and evaluation
  • monetary and technical resources
  • audience development and institutional recognition through outside critiques, public presentation, and publication

AOV11 Fellowship Program

The AOV11 Fellowship program is co-directed by Piotr Szyhalski, Mike Hoyt, and Sarah Peters (new this year).

A total of four (not 5) commissions will be awarded with support for technical development and public presentation totaling $8,500 for each Fellow. Each commissioned artist will participate in an intensive 12+-month fellowship program from September 2019 to November 2020, culminating in presentation of the final project in the public sphere sometime from September to November.

The fellowship program consists of several elements:

  • monthly group meetings
  • monthly meetings with individually selected mentors
  • one-on-one meetings with AOV Co-Directors Hoyt, Peters and Szyhalski
  • consultation with a writing mentor
  • two critiques with external reviewers
  • technical review/prototype session prior to exhibition
  • exhibition and programming at the end of the fellowship
  • critical writing and publication documenting the fellowship work
  • support determining and executing final presentation. Note: each fellow is responsible for all logistics of their presentation.

Participation in fellowship meetings are not optional and can only be done in person. Please note that all group monthly meetings will occur primarily on the second Saturday of the month for 2 hours in the afternoon.

  • 2019: September 14, October 12, November 9, December 14.
  • 2020: January 11, February 8, March 14, April 11, May 9, June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12.  

Some of these dates may change, but if you cannot attend at least 12 of these dates in person, you should not apply.


A key component of the AOV program is the mentor, who is someone who meets with the artist on a regular basis throughout the year. The mentor may be an artist, a technologist, a curator, a poet. There is no fixed roster of mentors. Northern Lights can help identify potential mentors, who receive an honorarium, but it is finally the artist’s choice. Past mentors have included: Morgan Adamson, Ta-coumba Aiken, Christine Baeumler, Christopher Baker, Paul Bernhardt, Valentine Cadieux, Eric William Carroll, Melinda Childs, Jeff Crouse, Peter Happel Christian, Annie Dugan, Jan Estep, Greg Fitz, Monica Haller, Douglas Hegley, Pao Houa Her, Alexa Horochowski, Mike Hoyt, Wing Young Huie, Noah Keesecker, John Keston, John Kim, Chris Larson, Abinadi Meza, Katherine Milton, Jennifer Newsom, Kevin Obsatz, Boris Oicherman, Matt Olson, Jehra Patrick, Natasha Pestich, Sarah Peters, Sarah Rara, Stevie Rexroth, Christina Schmd, Jenny Schmid, Piotr Szyhalski, Jasmine Tang, Diane Willow, and  Marcus Young.


The AOV11 Fellowship is not a research grant. It is expected that all AOV11 Fellows will publicly exhibit or otherwise present a temporary project in public space sometime during September - November 2020, depending on the specific logistics of each project.


A printed publication of the final projects with critical commentary by at least one outside writer will be produced for AOV11.

AOV11 Project Criteria

AOV11 is for artists working experimentally at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture with a focus on network-based practices that are interactive and/or participatory.

  • Experimental. How does your proposed project fall outside or straddle traditional and discipline-based notions of art practice? Note: this is not a research grant and personal experimentation with a practice that is new to you does not in itself constitute experimental practice.
  • Intersection of art, technology and digital culture. Your proposal should incorporate technology in a meaningful way. It does not have to be new technology, but if your technology is the pencil, it should be an innovative use. Art is broadly defined in relation to digital culture. For example, video games or Twitter can be your art.
  • Network-based practices. Primarily, this means the Internet and any related or dependent platform or protocol from Second Life to Facebook to FTP but can also mean urban gardening networks or the postal network. Your project does not have to be network exclusive, however, and we encourage hybridity, particularly in relation to physical public space.
  • Interactive and/or participatory and/or socially engaged. Your project should have some significant, dynamic component to it, which is not fixed. It can range from viewer responses to a community bulletin board to light levels to data about the current weather. Think broadly.
  • In the public sphere.  The public sphere can be a physical or digital space. You do not need to identify a specific place where your project will be executed, but describe what kind of public environment or context it would be placed within.

The AOV Fellowship is to support artists’ practice that often falls between the cracks of traditional programming opportunities. We’re convincible about your approach to the core criteria. However, AOV is not a program in which technology is used to expand upon, distribute or document work in other disciplines.


Applicants must be:

  • Minnesota residents at the time of application and during the fellowship program, September  2019 – November 2020.
  • Considered an emerging artist. An emerging artist shows significant potential yet is under-recognized by peers, curators, producers, critics and administrators. Evidence of some professional achievement is expected, but not an extensive record of accomplishment. Full-time students are not eligible, with one exception: if an artist enrolls in an undergraduate or graduate degree program or takes classes while maintaining a current and active professional practice of creating and presenting work to the public, she/he/they are eligible.
  • Committed to participating fully and regularly in the fellowship program.

Selection Process

Artist proposals are sought through an open call.


A jury consisting of local art, design, and architecture professionals will make the final selection. Four projects will be selected by the jury. The jurors include Mike Hoyt, Artist, Creative Community Liaison, Pillsbury House + Theatre; Sarah Peters, Co-Director, Northern,Piotr Szyhalski, Professor, Media Arts, Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  Past jurors have included: Christopher Atkins, Cezanne Charles, Steve Dietz, Rudolf Frieling, Tia-Simone Gardner, James Garrett Junior, Andrea Grover, Ben Heywood, Eva Kraikul, Kimberly Loken, Kathy Mouacheupao, Jehra Patrick, Ana Serrano, Xavier Tavera Castro, Yesomi Umolu, Anuradha Vikram and others.


Proposals will be evaluated primarily based on their excellence and applicability to the program (see Project Criteria). In addition, each proposal should demonstrate and will be evaluated on:

  • Quality of proposal, including the likely feasibility of the project (wrapping the Foshay Tower with non-conductive cloth to make a skyscraper Faraday cage, while a cool idea, would likely be considered unfeasible).
  • Public sphere. This is less about a specific, confirmed site than the type of public site proposed, how it is imagined to be used, and why it is exciting to contemplate.
  • Quality of past work as demonstrated through work samples. Note, this does not mean that the artist is required to be expert in all the technology or fields required to successfully complete the project.
  • Ability to artistically accomplish in a timely manner an artwork for public presentation as demonstrated in prior work. It is not a requirement to have previously worked in the public sphere, although include this information if you have.
  • Articulated interest in participating in a creative and critical process with peers and mentors. Note, it is acceptable but not required to have a mentor in mind you would like to work with. Mentors receive a small honorarium for their participation.


Selections will be announced by September 2, 2019.

Application Online

The submission link will be posted by June 30.

Please note that the following elements should be separate PDF files.

Checklist for AOV11 Application

(Include all of the following. All files should be uploaded to the form as .PDF files.)

  • Artist Statement
  • Proposal
  • Site venue or type of site venue. (Again, selection will not be based on a specific site or permission for that site per se but how your proposal intersects with the idea of the public sphere.)
  • List only of work sample URLs and descriptions
  • Bio + Resume
  • Budget and Timeline
  • References (optional)

Artist Statement

Your Artist Statement (2 pages max) should articulate both how your artistic goals match the program criteria and your interest in participating in an intensive fellowship program.

Project Proposal

Your project proposal (2 pages max) should discuss your project’s core concept, your approach to realizing it, the kind of support you think you will need, and what and where - or what type of where - the public outcome will be. Include whether you have any particular connection with the site and/or site owners. The project proposal should be as specific as possible about goals and outcomes. It is less critical to know exactly how these will be accomplished, but tell us what you want to learn and how you want to be challenged through your project. The project proposal is considered a starting point, and we recognize that it may change, even radically, over the course of the Fellowship.

Work Samples List

Provide a list of your work samples with title, date, medium, link, and a brief description for each sample. All work samples should be accessible via the web. They can take any form, as long as they are accessible via the web. You may include up to 10 work samples with no more than 4 minutes of video total. Note: more is not necessarily better, and you should include only work samples relevant to your proposal. If one of your work samples is a website, include specific pages to view and how to navigate to them, if there is no direct URL.

Bio + Resume

Include a short narrative bio, 150 words max, as well as a complete resume of exhibitions and related work.

Budget and Timeline

Include your best estimate of a production timeline and project budget, which can include your own fee. The budget is not determinative, and both it and the timeline can and probably will change, but the scope should roughly match the resources and timeline of the Fellowship program. Do include the optimal time period, between September and November, for presentation of your project.


References are optional. Include up to three letters of reference. The references are most useful in relation your ability to work in a collaborative environment and follow through on commitments. Your work samples will be your primary indicators of artistic excellence. Ask your references to write about their experience with your process and their estimation of your ability to benefit from the AOV11 program.


Email [email protected] with any questions.

Opportunity Opens

Tuesday, May 7th 2019

Opportunity Closes

Monday, Jul 29th 2019, 11:45pm

Application Location

MN Artists