Bannister Community Art Project Exhibition

Responding to Edward Mitchell Bannister

Photograph of a bronze sculpture of Edward Mitchell Bannister seated on a bench

About Edward Mitchell Bannister

Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828-1901) was a prominent Black artist who was born in New Brunswick, Canada, and lived in Providence in the last decades of his life. He was the first artist of color to win a national art award when he received First Prize at the Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia, and he went on to help build Providence into a New England cultural center, becoming a driving force in establishing the Providence Art Club in 1880.

Calling for Submissions

The Bannister Community Art Project and Bannister Gallery at Rhode Island College are seeking professional artists to participate in and create new artwork for an exhibition that responds to Edward Bannister’s life and artwork. We welcome broad interpretations of the theme and a variety of artistic media.

An exhibition in the fall of 2025 will take place in Bannister Gallery and feature existing artworks and at least one new artwork from each participating artist. Artists that are selected will receive an honorarium of $1,000. Finalists will be selected by jurors and members of the Bannister Community Art Project Exhibition Committee.

Submission Details

  • Artists should email up to 10 images or video links as examples of existing artwork that represents their breadth to with the word “BCAP” included in the subject line.
  • Images should be accompanied by an image list detailing titles, dates, mediums, and dimensions.
  • In addition, artists should send a CV and an artist statement that describes how their work responds to the life and artwork of Edward Mitchell Bannister.
  • Artists of color, especially those living in the New England region, are highly encouraged to apply.
  • Selected finalists should be professional exhibiting artists from outside the Rhode Island College community. No current faculty from Rhode Island College or full-time students from any college or university will be accepted.
  • The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2024. Any questions can be directed to Victoria Gao, the Director of the Bannister Gallery.

Exhibition Details

  • Upon acceptance, artists must be able to drop off and pick up their own work for the October 2025 exhibition OR arrange for shipping at their own cost. Shipped artworks should not exceed 36 inches x 36 inches x 36 inches and 50 pounds.
  • Bannister Gallery is solely a non-profit educational art gallery. Artworks will not be sold through the gallery.

Timeline of Events

  • August 31, 2024: deadline for call
  • November 1, 2024: selected artists notified
  • Spring/Summer 2025: artists will create new work
  • September 2025: artists delivery artwork to the Bannister Gallery
  • October 2025: exhibition in Bannister Gallery and panel conversation at RIC, opening reception TBD
  • November 1, 2025: artwork must be picked up from the Bannister Gallery

About the Bannister Community Art Project

The Bannister Community Art Project was created in 2021 as a collaboration with community leaders and organizations in Rhode Island to celebrate Edward Mitchell Bannister and bring awareness to his life, art, and long-lasting legacy. In 2022 the project, with support from the Providence Art Club, supported a proposal by artist Gage Prentiss to create a life-size sculpture of Bannister sitting on a public bench by Market Square in Providence, which was installed in September 2023. You can learn more about Edward Mitchell Bannister and the Bannister Community Art Project.

The Bannister Gallery at Rhode Island College was dedicated in 1978 in honor of Edward Mitchell Bannister, 150 years after the artist’s birth. The gallery aims to present a diverse set of art that ranges from traditional media, like painting and sculpture, to more contemporary formats, including photography, graphic design, and digital media. Bannister Gallery strives to create an inclusive environment for the public with the aim of building relationships between the arts community of Rhode Island and the larger art world.

Rhode Island College entrance


Bannister Gallery

Located in Rhode Island College’s Roberts Hall, the Bannister Gallery presents 7 to 8 exhibitions a year by local, regional and international artists.