BAM Biennial 2021 Prospectus & FAQ


BAM Biennial 2021: Architecture & Urban Design


Call for Entries

Submission Deadline (received by): January 15, 2021

Exhibition Dates: November 2021 – April 2022 (exact dates TBD)



In 2010, Bellevue Arts Museum launched the BAM Biennial, a juried exhibition which focused on the work of established and emerging Northwest artists, craftspeople, and designers, with an emphasis on new work. Every two years, Bellevue Arts Museum has designated a new focus of exploration, be it a specific medium, technique, process, or theme in art, craft, and design. In 2018, it was decided that the fifth edition in the series, BAM Biennial 2018: BAM! Glasstastic would be the last Biennial to focus on a single given material. After five different media—fiber, clay, wood, metal, and glass—the next five Biennials will instead examine specific fields and areas of studies within the realm of art, craft, and design.

The 2021 BAM Biennial will kick off this new format—marked by a gap year in the Biennial’s schedule—by inviting designers, artists, and makers of all kinds to submit proposals for exhibition at BAM that interrogate the fields of architecture and urban design.

With the Eastside being connected to Seattle through a light rail extension in 2023, Amazon’s HQ2 project in downtown Bellevue, Bellevue Arts Museum—itself a signature and important piece of the architecture of King County—seeks to promote a discussion on the essential role of effective and equitable design in what seems to be an ever-expanding urban environment.

The events of 2020 have underlined that Western society's assumptions around the utility and progression of the city are precisely that: only assumptions. They can be subject to the challenge of a pandemic, imperatives of long-ignored injustice, or the excessive imposition of state power. The upheavals of recent months have raised important questions about the way we think of architecture and urban design. Should sustainability and density be continually reassessed to respond appropriately to the issues of tomorrow? Are we striving to create places to live and work that aims to be harmonious, equitable, and true?

BAM is seeking Northwest architects, designers, artists, craftsmen, and makers of all kinds working in the fields of architecture and urban design for a discussion, examination and celebration around this most crucial and timely question.


Calendar of Important Dates
Sep. 30, 2020 Call for Entries opens
Jan. 15, 2021 Deadline by which all entries must be received
End of Feb. 2021 Selected artists to be announced and notified
End of Oct. 2021 Artwork arrives at BAM, delivered or shipped by artists
Nov. 2021 Exhibition opens
Apr. 2022 Exhibition closes
Late Apr. 2022 Artists pick up work or arrange for return shipping


BAM Biennial Award

Once the exhibition is mounted, BAM Curatorial staff will review the exhibition and award one recipient with a $1,500 cash prize plus the opportunity for a solo exhibition at Bellevue Arts Museum within two years.  


2021 Jurors

Once the application deadline has closed, a panel of five jurors will convene to review entries and select artists for the exhibition (typically between 30 and 40). Artists will be notified in late February 2021 as to whether they have been selected and will have roughly six months to complete their projects and deliver them to the Museum for installation. Jurors will choose artists to participate in the exhibition but will not select award winners, as noted above. Jurors for exhibition selection include:

Lane Eagles
Lane Eagles is the Associate Curator at Bellevue Arts Museum. Previously, she has served in curatorial and collections roles at the Henry Art Gallery, Museum of Pop Culture, and Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. She has also taught visual studies courses at Seattle Pacific University and Cornish College of the Arts. Eagles earned her BA in art history from the University of Oklahoma and her MA and PhD in art history from the University of Washington.

James Garrett Jr.
James Garrett Jr. artistically creates technologically advanced, resilient design that articulates an evolving comprehension of the 21st century city. As a visual artist, writer, and architect, he creatively expresses the urban condition through inspired design. His work employs diverse media to explore complex theoretical topics from a unique, ethno-experiential perspective. Garrett is the co-founder and managing partner of 4RM+ULA a full-service architectural design firm based in Minnesota and New York.

Benedict Heywood
Benedict Heywood is the Executive Director & Chief Curator of the Bellevue Arts Museum. Previously, he was Director of Pivot Art + Culture, a gallery and exhibition project of Seattle philanthropist Paul Allen. In Minneapolis, he was the founder of The Soap Factory, a studio and laboratory for artistic experimentation across the contemporary visual arts. A British citizen, Ben is a graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has previously been Deputy Director of The Henry Moore Sculpture Trust in Leeds, UK and a Visual Arts Officer at the Arts Council of England, London, UK.

Simba Mafundikwa
Inspired by his eclectic upbringing, Simba Mafundikwa approaches architecture and design with a diverse lens. He is most passionate about improving people's lives through design and approaches his work with this mindset. He is currently based in Seattle where he has worked on multiple projects and public installations for the Seattle Design Festival.

Christopher Shaw
Christopher Shaw is a Seattle based engineer, thinker, and artist. As a ceramicist with over 20 years of creative practice, Shaw is known for installation work and numerous creative collaborations. He operates an engineering consultancy based in South Seattle where he provides engineering design for both public art and architectural projects.

S Surface
S Surface is an urbanist, designer, educator, and curator based in Seattle, the Indigenous land of the Duwamish and Coast Salish peoples. Their practice centers the creation and preservation of livable, equitable places, and demonstrates how design can support civic participation. Surface is currently King Street Station Program Lead with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.


Eligibility & Submission of Materials

Eligibility will be limited to artists currently residing, working, or studying in the Pacific Northwest region, which for the scope of this exhibition will include Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, and British Columbia. Artists may be of any age and at any level of recognition or stage in their artistic careers. Artists with a range of backgrounds and experience—emerging and established—are strongly encouraged to apply.

Artists will be required to submit the following materials in digital form by the entry submission deadline via the CaFE platform:

  • $20 application fee.
  • 3-20 digital files representing your work. A minimum of three images is required. Depending on the nature of the work, up to three video files and up to five audio files can also be included. The maximum total number of files allowed on any application is 20. Files should represent past work with an emphasis on recently completed projects.

Plus upload each of the following documents via CaFE:

  • Project proposal description up to 500 words
  • Up-to-date resume
  • Checklist of digital images (see below for detailed information)
  • Any supporting documentation, such as drawings or sketches

Proposals may be as loosely or succinctly defined as the artist desires. Artists are encouraged to submit the maximum number of images to show a cohesive body of work. Please see the CaFE website for more information on the list of acceptable upload-ready file formats (via this link).

Images: JPG files only, minimum of 1200 pixels on the longest side and 5 MB maximum.

Audio: AIFF, WAV, XMF, MP3; 10 MB maximum.

Video: 3GP, WMV, AVI, MOV, ASF, MPG, MP4, M2T, MKV, M2TS; min. 640x480 resolution; 100 MB maximum.

Please label files with artist’s last name and a sequential number; for example, if your name is John Smith, your images will be labeled “Smith 01,” “Smith 02,” and so on. Please also provide a checklist with files—including title, date, materials, size of the work pictured, and photo credit (if applicable)—for each work.


Limitations & Agreement

Although there is no limit placed on the size of art works for exhibition, artists are requested to consult with Museum staff for any single object exceeding 3,000 pounds (or 300 pounds for hanging objects) due to gallery and elevator limitations. All work must be original, not previously exhibited, and within the scope of the submitted proposal. Bellevue Arts Museum reserves the right to reject, upon arrival, any work that differs significantly in appearance, quality, and craftsmanship from the artist’s submitted proposal. All accepted artwork must remain on view for the duration of the exhibition at Bellevue Arts Museum, from approximately November 2021 through April 2022 (exact dates TBD). Bellevue Arts Museum shall have the right to photograph works in the exhibition and use images of all included works for promotional purposes and in future publications. Bellevue Arts Museum agrees to insure all works while on the Museum’s premises. Submitting work to this competition constitutes an agreement on the part of the artist with all the conditions set forth in the prospectus.


Delivery of Artwork

All accepted entrants are personally responsible for delivery of their work for the exhibition in mid- to late October 2021 (exact date TBD). Works must be received during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm, unless otherwise arranged. Pickup or return shipping of artworks must be arranged within one week following the close of the exhibition in late April (TBD), 2022. Works left at the Museum beyond that date will be stored offsite at the artist’s expense. Bellevue Arts Museum reserves the right to refuse any delivery and disqualify any entry that does not comply with these specifications. All artworks will be repacked in the materials and manner in which they are received. All deliveries and shipping arrangements should be coordinated in advance with Bellevue Arts Museum’s Registrar.

Costs for packing and shipping, if necessary, will be borne by the artist and should be paid directly. Bellevue Arts Museum has a limited budget to assist with artists’ shipping expenses. Bellevue Arts Museum will provide a reimbursement form to each accepted entrant to the competition at the close of the exhibition. If interested in applying for reimbursement, artists are responsible to request the Bellevue Arts Museum reimbursement form and to complete and submit it (with receipts) within one month of return shipping to receive funds up to $250 for their documented expenses. Expenses beyond $250 will not be reimbursed by the Museum and will be the sole responsibility of the artist.



Is BAM Biennial 2021 limited to work in architecture and urban design only?

For the purposes of this exhibition, architecture and/or urban design must be a strong or central component in the work, and interpretation of this is up to the discretion of the jurors. Examples of acceptable work include, but are not limited to two-dimensional art, sculpture, photography, film, architectural/urban design models or plans, etc.  


Do I need to be an architect or urban designer to participate in the Biennial?

You do not have to be an architect or urban designer to participate in the exhibition. Interdisciplinary makers are encouraged to apply.


What has been the focus of past BAM Biennials?

Since launching the Biennial in 2010, the exhibition has focused on the mediums of clay, fiber, wood, metal, and glass respectively with an exhibition approximately every two years. The 2021 BAM Biennial will kick off this new format—marked by a gap year in the Biennial’s schedule—by inviting designers, artists, and makers of all kinds to submit proposals for an exhibition at BAM that interrogates fields of architecture and urban design.


Can I enter multiple pieces or proposals?

Applications are limited to one entry per artist. However, one entry may contain any number of components.


Should I enter a finished work or a proposal for new work?

This choice is left up to the artist. However, entries are limited to work completed in the last two years that have not been previously exhibited in the Northwest, and artists are very highly encouraged to submit proposals for new work.


Can I receive funding to help with shipping?

A limited amount of funding is available from Bellevue Arts Museum (maximum of $250/artist) to assist with the shipping expenses. Artists will be required to pay for shipping directly and apply to Bellevue Arts Museum for reimbursement. Please keep all receipts as undocumented expenses cannot be reimbursed. Instructions will be provided to all entrants accepted to the exhibition. Expenses above $250 will not be reimbursed by the Museum and will be the sole responsibility of the artist.


Can I collaborate with another artist?

Yes. Artists wishing to work collaboratively should submit a single entry form for consideration. All artists in a single entry are encouraged to include images of their individual and/or previous collaborative work as examples. If multiple artists are working together on a single project, shipping reimbursements will be based per entry, not per person, so shipping reimbursement for a project by multiple artists will be limited to $250.


What is “Northwest” for the purposes of this exhibition?

Consistent with the definition established by the Pacific Northwest Annual, in 2001, use of the term “Northwest” for this exhibition will include Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, and British Columbia. Artists currently residing, working, or studying within any of these states or provinces are eligible to apply.


How should I submit my images? 

Images are to be submitted through CaFE in digital form only.  BAM’s preferred image format is JPG or TIFF, 300 dpi, 5 x 7 inches; however, if your images do not conform exactly to these dimensions they will still be accepted. Please label images with artist’s last name and a sequential number; for example, if your name is John Smith, your images will be labeled “Smith 01,” “Smith 02,” and so on. Please also provide a checklist with images—including title, date, materials, size of the work pictured, and photo credit—for each work.