Call For Artists to Participate in Historical Society of Washington’s 2017 For the Record Exhibition

For all the artists in our community, here is an opportunity to showcase your work and our greater community!


The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. invites all artists residing in the Washington metropolitan area to enter its 2017 For the Record juried exhibition and fundraiser. All art work meeting exhibition guidelines will be considered.


Visitors enjoying themselves at the opening of For the Record exhibition in 2016.

Visitors enjoying themselves at the opening of For the Record exhibition in 2016.

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C challenges local artists to create 2D artwork depicting a specific neighborhood in each of the city’s eight wards. Drawing upon For the Record’s successful 2015 and 2016 iterations, the Historical Society seeks to engage an even wider community of artists in this exciting exhibition and program. For the Record provides exposure, recognition, and enduring prestige to local artists, and raises funds to support the Historical Society. The 2017 program and exhibition will document and feature:

Ward 1: Howard Town/Pleasant Plains
Ward 2: Burleith
Ward 3: Palisades
Ward 4: Shepherd Park
Ward 5: Ivy City
Ward 6: Buzzard Point
Ward 7: Kenilworth
Ward 8: Congress Heights

For the Record is an opportunity for people who live, work, and play in D.C. to capture and share the built environment and social fabric of these neighborhoods, and to portray Washington as it exists today.

Curators from local institutions will serve as jurors for the competition and chose the artworks that will comprise the exhibit. The selected works will be displayed in summer 2017. Up to five works may be chosen by the Collections Committee to become part of the Historical Society’s permanent collection. Cash prizes will be given to the top 3 photographs and top 3 non-photographs; an additional prize will be given to the work deemed Best Overall. New this year, the Best in Ward prize will be given to the artist whose work is chosen as the best piece representing each specific ward.

Award recipients and artwork chosen for the permanent collection will be announced during the reception.

In addition to a letter acknowledging their participation and donation, each artist in the exhibition will receive:

  • Visibility and exposure to curators from top art institutions in Washington, D.C. Past jurors have included representatives from the Corcoran School of Art & Design; FOTODC; the George Washington University Museum; the National Building Museum; and the Philips Collection.
  • A chance to become part of a permanent collection and to be awarded a prize of up to $500
  • Exposure to potential clients and collectors
  • Two (2) complimentary drink tickets for the opening reception
  • Two (2) copies of the museum-quality printed exhibit companion catalog
  • Increased exposure via press recognition (previously, artists and their artwork have been featured on media outlets such as NBC 4 and Washingtonian Magazine)
  • Name listed on the History Society’s website ( with a link to artist
  • Complimentary one-year Member Plus Level Membership to the Historical Society ($100 value, includes free admission and discounts to more than 800 institutions in the North American Reciprocal Museum program)

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., was founded in 1894 to collect, preserve, and share the history of the nation’s capital city. The collections are particularly strong in visual documentation of the city, including the works of photographers Garnet W. Jex, John P. Wymer, and William Edmund Barrett, among others. In 1999, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.’s art holdings grew considerably with the acquisition of “Washington Never More,” a collection of paintings by artist Lily Spandorf that depict Washington streetscapes, including row houses, commercial buildings and other structures that were subsequently demolished. The For the Record competition and exhibition honors the Historical Society’s tradition of preserving and encouraging documentation of the evolution of the District’s built environment and social fabric through art.

For the Record is open to all artists residing in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. Entry is available online starting September 6, 2016 at Final deadline for entry: May 15, 2017.

Artwork Requirements
All 2D artwork will be considered. The work must depict one of the identified neighborhoods. This can include but is not limited to: street-style portraits; commercial or residential interiors; street scenes; building exteriors or details. Although submissions may focus on the built environment, artists are encouraged to include people and living things in their work. Model releases must be provided when including anyone under the age of 18; artists are strongly encouraged to secure model releases for any and all identifiable persons.  All work must be original and signed by the artist, and must include the address of the subject, the medium used, and the date of creation.

Please note: If the image used in the submitted artwork was originally captured with a camera (analogue or digital, including cell phone and tablet cameras) and printed (on paper, metal, Plexiglas or other surface) it will be deemed a photograph unless the print is physically manipulated (e.g. cut apart and woven into a collage) and/or other media are used to alter the image after it is printed. If the print itself is physically altered, the piece should be considered a non-photograph (e.g. collage, mixed-media).

Entry Agreement & Artist Responsibilities

  • The Historical Society’s Collections Committee may choose up to five of the donated works for its permanent collection. The remaining submissions chosen for exhibition will be offered for sale in 2017. Proceeds of art sales will be split 50/50 between the Historical Society and the artist. Any works not sold by the end of the exhibition must be picked up by the artist. If the artwork is selected for the permanent collection, artists must agree to donate the original artwork to the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
  • Images of all works accepted for exhibition may be used at the sole discretion of the Historical Society for promotional purposes.
  • Work must be delivered in-person matted and framed or in a manner appropriate to the artwork; must be delivered ready-to-hang with the artist’s donation form attached to the back.
  • Work must arrive on scheduled dates during the times allotted.
  • Work should be measured prior to delivery to ensure it is within the size limitations; including outer edges of frame, artwork should be no more than 20”x30”.
  • The Historical Society reserves the right to reject any work not in compliance with these requirements.

Entry Fee*
A non-refundable entry fee is required with submissions. The fee entitles the entrant to submit up to two works.
Early-Bird deadline for submission (October 31, 2016): $25
Second deadline for entry (April 15, 2017): $35
Final deadline for submission (May 15, 2017): $50 fee
*Entry fee is $25 for seniors and students with a valid college ID.

How to Enter
The Historical Society will begin accepting entries on September 6, 2016. All entries must be submitted online via Submittable at Artists are required to complete the registration form and pay the appropriate entry fee. Artists must provide a digital image in a high-resolution JPG or TIFF format with the longest side measuring at least 3000 pixels. Uploads are restricted to a maximum of 300MB. The jurors will make their evaluations for the exhibition based on this digital image only. The image will also be used for the exhibition catalog.

All entries must be submitted by 11:59 pm EST, May 15, 2017.

The top entries will be selected based on the uploaded digital image by the panel of jurors. The jurors will also decide all award winners.

Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place winners in two categories: Best Photograph and Best Non-Photograph. Each third place receives $100, second receives $250, and first receives $350. Of the two first place winners, one will be deemed “Best Overall” and will receive an additional $150. The Best in Ward award is $100 per ward represented in the exhibition. (See Artwork Requirements for clarity of these classifications.)

All entrants will be notified via email no later than May 26, 2017. If you do not receive notification by that date, please contact the Historical Society’s Operations Manager, Katrina Ingraham (kingraham(at)dchistory(dot)org). Award winners will be honored at the Opening Reception (date TBD).

Important Dates
September 6, 2016      Online entry opens
May 15, 2017               Final deadline for entries
May 26, 2017               All entrants notified by email
Summer 2017              Exhibit Opens

Contact information:
Katrina Ingraham, Operations Manager

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