Friday, September 18, 2020 to Sunday, January 24, 2021

Opening Reception

This exhibition's Opening Reception is free and open to the public!

Friday, September 18, 2020 -
6:30pm to 8:30pm



The Contemporary Arts Center wishes to thank all of the artists who have submitted work to our 2020 Call for Artists: Make America What America Must Become! We have received a near-record number of submissions of work and are excited to share the exhibition with our community this fall.


We apologize for the delay and appreciate your patience while the CAC's co-curators make their final selections for our 2020 Open Call exhibition. You should receive a notification regarding the status of your application no later than Friday, July 31. Thank you, and please stay tuned to our e-newsletter and social media for the latest updates.

Because of COVID-19, many of our key dates surrounding this exhibition have changed since the application process. Please see our updated timeline, below. Click here to download our updated Guildelines Document with all of the details.

June 26: Applicants will be notified whether their work has been chosen for Open Call 2020

June 29 & 30: Selected artists will receive a checklist of their selected work(s) and a loan agreement

September 18, 2020 to January 24, 2021: Exhibition On View

January 27-20, 2021: Shipped work returned

January 28 & 29: Return of hand-delivered works

Questions? Contact Jen Francino, Senior Curatorial Associate, at jfrancino@cacno.org.


"Great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become." – James Baldwin

America is an anxious nation chasing a more perfect union. As it's political body struggles along the arc of justice, the truths “we” hold, rarely appear self-evident. Complicated by an overtly mediated era, today's social movements demand a punctuated examination of #historicalconsequence and #power. At this moment, the distance between Art and Politics—reflection and response—seems to be collapsing. In a letter to his nephew on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, philosopher and American commentator, James Baldwin, offered an optimistic but urgent message, "Great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become." 

During a summer of electoral consternation, the CAC presents "Make America What America Must Become," a call for artists living and working along the Gulf Coast. In the context of our shifting regional landscape, we are seeking artworks across media that examine how power is made manifest in culture, politics, economics, and ecology. We are also curious to see works that were created urgently in response to the current political paradigm and reflect broadly on the conjuring and churning of the American fever dream.

This exhibition is organized and presented by the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), New Orleans. Support for this exhibition is provided by Sydney & Walda Besthoff, The Helis Foundation, and the Welch Family Foundation. This exhibition is also supported by the City of New Orleans through a Community Arts Grant, as well as by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council.

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