Exhibition Open Calls

Fall Poem Booth Exhibition Open Call

The mission of Gallery Aferro is to function as a platform for the exchange of ideas in service of advancing human dignity and beauty, with a focus on sound and visual arts as the vehicle, proudly located in Newark, NJ.

Gallery Aferro is an artist-run alternative arts space located in the heart of Newark, New Jersey’s downtown district. Founded in 2003, it is home to two major public gallery spaces in a 20,000 sq. ft. building at 73 Market Street, offering exhibitions, interactive sound installations, events, an extensive community book room, and a year-round studio residency program.

About The Call:

Pablo Neruda once said that “laughter is the language of the soul.” And as a poet with an indelible ability to craft a verse that made us feel, see and hear our true selves, Neruda understood how laughter can resonate in ways that sobs cannot.

And it is with that idea in mind, Gallery Aferro invites poets, lyrical bards, and spoken word artists to submit their greatest rimes, sonnets, verses and odes for our upcoming exhibition, Make Me Wanna Holler.

Opening on Friday, October 7th as a part of the Newark Arts Festival, the exhibition will be an audio showcase of written expression delivered via the conduit of our ongoing Poem Booth Project

In this exhibition, poets will share their beloved works exploring the expression of healing, hiding or harnessing adversity, pain or melancholy through the use of humor, wit or satire. Whether subtle or strident, works in the Make Me Wanna Holler exhibition will reveal the many ways in which we speak volumes while smiling through our tears and laughing through our suffering. 

Poets are encouraged to submit works underscoring any topic that speaks to their life experience (e.g., love, identity, parenting, discrimination, nature, aging). Submissions of written works may tap into a variety of poetic styles and formats (e.g., free verse, limerick, haiku, villanelle, elegy), but the subject matter must weave laughter or comedy into the tapestry of hardship or heartache. 

About The Curator:

Candace Nicholson is a writer, storyteller and gallery director who has spent 20 years tweaking the written word in the world of publishing, marketing and arts administration. A lover of language and literature, Nicholson has parlayed her BA in English Literature into covering the arts and culture scene as a passion, a hobby and a career. She ignited her love of poetry when editing for her high school literary magazine, ignited her love of creative writing when penning an original play for her university radio station, and ignited her love of the power of 3s when she realized it’s a great way to craft a memorable closer. An East Coast transplant, she currently resides in Newark, NJ.

What Happens If Your Work Is Selected:

Like the art of stand-up comedy, the power of spoken word can convey complex ideas and visions in ways that may limit visual artists. This is why if your poem is selected to be a part of the exhibition, Gallery Aferro will ask that you record an audio version of your poem that will then be shared with visitors via our retrofitted 1960s-era phone booth located in our main gallery at 73 Market Street, Newark, NJ.

Learn more about the Poem Booth Project at www.aferro.org/exhibitions/permanent/poem-booth.

All written poems will be presented in an audio format in the exhibition, so please keep this in mind when submitting works of great length. 

Submission Info:

Open to emerging and experienced poets of all ages, genders, and nationalities, residing anywhere in the world. 

If you are submitting a poem in a language other than English, please include a written translation in English. 

Yes, you may submit previously published poetry, but it must be your own original work.

Poetry submissions require a nonrefundable fee of US$10.00.** A submission fee does not guarantee that your poem will be selected.

Be prepared to submit the following items via our submission form:

  1. Full Name
  2. Artist Name (if different from your Full Name)
  3. Email Address
  4. Phone Number
  5. Artist Bio (300 words or fewer; written in 3rd person)
  6. Artist Statement (300 words or fewer; written in 3rd person)

Only submit the following as attachments (examples: .doc, .pdf, Google Drive files, .jpgs, .png, etc. Please do not send oversized files like .tiff, .psd, or Word docs from Pages):

  1. CV/Resumé
  2. Your Poem(s) (no word limit)

You may submit up to 3 works of poetry for consideration in this open call. Each poem must be in a separate document. Within the document’s filename itself, please include the following information:

  • Title of poem
  • Artist’s last name or preferred artist name
  • Year poem was written or completed

See examples: “The Raven by Poe – 1845” or “The Hill We Climb by Gorman – 2021”

Please send the US$10.00 submission fee via the following PayPal link:

Fall Poem Booth Open Call Submission Fee

Submission fee for Gallery Aferro open call


Important Dates To Remember:

This call is open from August 1, 2022 – August 27th, 2022.

Submission deadline: By 11:59pm EDT on Saturday, August 27, 2022

Poets will be notified: By 11:59pm EDT on Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Audio recordings of selected poetry due to curator: By 11:59pm EDT on Friday, September 23, 2022

Artists selected will be notified by end of day on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, and their poems will be featured in the Make Me Wanna Holler exhibition at Gallery Aferro starting October 7, 2022 with an opening reception on Saturday, October 7th from 6-9pm. 

** What is my fee used for?

Gallery Aferro’s mission is to provide a platform for artists who seek to exchange ideas in the name of advancing human dignity and beauty. Application fees help us pursue that mission by enabling us to provide opportunities and support to artists, curators, writers and interns on their creative journeys.  

If you cannot afford the submission fee, please contact Candace Nicholson for a waiver at cnicholson@aferro.org. We do not believe in artist gouging and ask for this small fee only as part of our overall, diversified activities to support our nonprofit programs within the community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at cnicholson@aferro.org or info@aferro.org.