Call for Submissions: CAFKA.23

Submission Deadline: January 31, 2022


Rouzbeh Akhbari and Sahar Te, Attending Captures (2021), Installation view: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost. Commissioned by Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area (CAFKA), 2021. Image courtesy the artists.

CAFKA is seeking submissions for its biennial exhibition of contemporary art taking place in June 2023.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, CAFKA – Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area is an artist-run organization that produces a biennial exhibition of contemporary art projects in the public spaces of the Region of Waterloo and surrounding areas. As Ontario’s longest-running public art forum, for 20 years CAFKA has supported a diverse spectrum of local, national and international artists in the presentation/ dissemination of over 270 ground-breaking, contemporary, interactive and interventionist public artworks to millions of audiences through biennial programming, annual exhibitions and special projects. As a pillar within KW, CAFKA’s free biennial program in unexpected public spaces expands contemporary art experiences outside gallery environments and positions them as critical and integral parts of community life—accessible to everyone. Through the biennial, lectures, tours, workshops and related special projects, CAFKA develops opportunities for people in the community and beyond to learn about contemporary art, and engage in discourse around issues of public and private space.

CAFKA invites proposals from artists working across disciplines and from local, national and international communities. Submissions can be project or practice based in scope. In the case of a practice-based submissions, please submit a portfolio of recent work that best embodies your practice and exemplifies the type of work you would contribute to the biennial. The Program Committee will assess portfolios of artists who have both the experience and potential to develop work in public spaces. Please refer to past biennial programming, including our 2021 biennial exhibition for examples of installations and exhibition locations. Artists will work closely with, and receive curatorial, logistic and administrative support from, the Program Committee and Director throughout the development and realization of their project.

Please note: CAFKA’s Biennial takes place in the public realm in primarily outdoor spaces and is comprised of temporary works of “public art”. Proposals that rely on the physical characteristics of gallery spaces are not recommended as indoor spaces are limited. Proposed projects should take into consideration public intervention (i.e. unsupervised “touch”) and outdoor environmental conditions such as wind and rain as well as the potential for vandalism.

CAFKA’s biennial program includes an invitational component, where artists, identified by the Program Committee, are invited to participate in the exhibition. The final exhibition line-up is comprised of both invited artists and artists selected from this open call.

We welcome submissions from artists of all backgrounds (including but not limited to): Indigenous, Black, people of colour, LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, people with disabilities, and members of equity seeking communities. Please advise us of any accommodations needed to ensure you can access and complete the submissions process.

Submission Guidelines:

Please email Submissions to with the subject line “[Your Name] CAFKA.23 Submission” no later than January 31, 2022. Successful applicants are expected to be notified by mid to late February.

We request submissions via PDF format + jpegs in a single email. Please size your images accordingly. Video works may be linked to an appropriate platform such as youtube or vimeo.

In a single PDF, please include your name; contact information (address, email, phone); and links (website, etc.); CV; 150 word bio (max); artist statement (250 words); a letter of interest/ intent + 10 images – either mock-ups for a specific project or portfolio works. If submitting a project-based proposal, please include a description (1 page max), including possible technical requirements, a rough budget and possible sites if identified and/or applicable.

We thank all applicants, but only those selected by the committee will be contacted.

We would prefer to receive applications electronically. Should you require accommodation at any time throughout the submissions process, please contact


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