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Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, Community Impact

New Call: Commissioning Additional Works for Social Justice Art Installation

July 20, 2022

collage of social justice art series

New Call for Art

Call Summary

The School of Social Work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seeks to commission a new work to be displayed in its permanent collection of social justice-related artwork. The deadline for submission is October 2, 2022, with planned notification of selection by November 15, 2022, and installation by April 1, 2023.

Project Description

The Elevating Voices Art Series at the University of Illinois School of Social Work recognizes the need for and facilitates discussions around the complexities of racial and social justice while elevating and empowering the voices of underrepresented populations and groups. The series currently consists of eight pieces of various media that call attention to oppression, assault, homelessness, whitewashing/erasure, displacement, and community.

The series is made possible through the generosity of our alumni, donors, and funding from the John N. Chester Estate Endowment Fund. Additional donor support has precipitated an opportunity to continue growing this series through the commissioning of new work to be added to the collection.

The School of Social Work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is consistently ranked in the top 30 social work programs by US News & World Report. We prepare future social work leaders and help empower people and communities. We work for social justice and equity and are tireless in our pursuit of positive change. Our innovative research establishes evidence that transforms social work practice. Guided by our student-focused faculty, students receive a well-balanced experience that couples creative classroom learning  with immersive field internships. They can participate in collaborative research and service-learning projects that impact and improve lives. The result? Students are prepared to be poised and inspired professionals ready to make a difference in the world.


All works of art commissioned for inclusion in this collection will facilitate discussion around racial and social justice and/or elevate and empower underrepresented populations and groups. Examples of representative groups include but are not limited to Latinx, LGBTQIA+, Indigenous peoples, aging, physical and/or mental disabilities, and BIPOC. Commissioned works can be of various media, both two- and three-dimensional, and must be able to be installed either to be hung on a wall or displayed in an enclosed display case.

Art Location

Commissioned works will be on permanent display at the University of Illinois School of Social Work, located at 1010 W Nevada St in Urbana, IL. Within the school, there are several spaces available for artwork display. Current works include canvases (ranging from small to large), frames, vinyl wall decals, and neon light tubing. All works are hung on walls in a variety of locations throughout the facility. There is no additional lighting for displayed artworks. The artist chosen for the commission will provide input on the space selected to display their work.

Art Location Plans

The School of Social Work facility consists of a large first-floor entry lobby that leads to the second floor which houses the main portion of the facility. The second-floor portion consists of a series of connecting hallways, classrooms of varying sizes and uses, faculty offices and lounges, and a large central meeting space for students used for studying and socializing. While the site is open to the public, it is rare for anyone to enter the facility that does not have prior business with the School of Social Work. Works commissioned in this round will likely be displayed along the main hallway, classrooms frequently used throughout each semester, or the main entrance stairwell. Photos provided for review.


For this phase of the selection process, please submit a proposed budget that includes all costs associated with creating the work as well as artist compensation.

Artists Eligible

All artists, both professional and students, are eligible to apply for a commission. Artists new to the field of public art and/or who center topics of racial, social, and restorative justice in their works are strongly encouraged to apply. While close geographic proximity to the Champaign-Urbana area is desired, it is not required.

Application Requirements

  • All artists applying for a commission should submit the following in e-format:
  • Statement/letter of interest
  • Resume or short biography
  • Selection of representative works
  • Project proposal (including a description of the proposed work, representative topic/group to be depicted, personal connection to work, a proposed budget, and any other pertinent details for the selection committee’s consideration)

All materials will be uploaded online.


Completed applications must be received by October 2, 2022, by 11:59 PM for full consideration.

Submission Address

Applications and materials should be uploaded via the online submission form:

Selection Process & Criteria

All submissions received by the deadline will be given full consideration by the selection committee. The committee will review each submission for vision, relation to the theme, and feasibility. Select submissions will be selected to progress to the next round of evaluation in which artists will be asked to submit a mock-up of their proposed work. Based on the budgets submitted for each proposed work, a minimum of one artist/work will be selected to receive the commission.

Project Timeline

Final selections will be made by November 15, 2022. Commissioned works must be installed by April 1, 2023.

Sources for Additional Information

You can read more about the Elevating Voices art installation and the pieces on permanent display at

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