As part of its socially engaged mission and practice, Busboys and Poets presents #Migration61, an exhibition that asks, “What would the 61st panel of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series look like today?”

Title of the Exhibition:


Organized by:

Busboys and Poets, Washington, DC

Exhibition locations:

All six Busboys and Poets locations in the metropolitan Washington, DC area


Jacob Lawrence with no 44In 1941, a young Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917–2000) created The Migration Series, 60 paintings that described the trauma and triumph of the African American journey from the South to the North between the world wars. His “novel in fine art” fused vision and commentary within a modernist style. Intent on educating an audience about the “push-and-pull forces” within the liberation of ordinary people, Lawrence translated an African American cultural experience into a universal visual form.

So touched by Lawrence’s Migration Series in the 1940s, Alfred Barr (director/curator of the Museum of Modern Art in New York) and Duncan Phillips (director/curator of the Phillips Memorial Gallery—now The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC) acquired the 60 panels and divided them equally between the two institutions; the odd-numbered panels to The Phillips Collection and the even-numbered panels to MoMA.

From October 8, 2016–January 8, 2017, The Phillips Collection will display the complete series of 60 panels in the exhibition People on the Move–Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. As part of its socially engaged mission and practice, Busboys and Poets is collaborating with The Phillips Collection to organize #Migration 61, an exhibition that asks, “What would the 61st panel of Lawrence’s Migration Series look like today?

Type of artwork:

Open to diverse media: drawing, painting, mixed media, conceptual, performance, photography, film, video, etc. 
(No free-standing sculpture)

Artwork does NOT have to be created in the aesthetic style of Jacob Lawrence.
The topic and/or content of the work though must reflect the theme of migration/emigration/immigration.

Immigration and migration are currently nationally and internationally charged topics. Subtopics for artists to consider within migration include human emotions (fear, anger, hope, optimism, strength), economic transformation, change, isolation, nationality, language, citizenship, gentrification, and resettlement.

The exhibition is open to local, regional, national, international artists.

Busboys and Poets provides art insurance.
The art will be available for sale if agreed upon by the artist.  Busboys and Poets takes NO commission for any sales. 

Submission Dates:

August 9 thru September 13, 2016


There is a $20 application fees to help cover costs for publications (include a brochure of all exhibiting artists and their work), return shipping, and speakers’ honorariums for auxiliary community programming.

The non-refundable fee for up to 10 images is payable on the website. If mailed, please include a check or money order for that amount. Please make check payable to Busboys and Poets, #Migration61.


Please complete the online form and include a short bio and mission/artist statement along with the works. Include titles of works, medium, sizes, and brief description (if available) about why you believe the work relates to migration.

Submission fee should be submitted online.  Instructions for payment are on the online application.


The Phillips Collection will be launching a rich, interactive website about Jacob Lawrence and The Migration Series in October in conjunction with the People on the Move exhibition. Each artist participating in this call also has the opportunity to submit one artwork for inclusion on the Phillips’s Jacob Lawrence website, in the section asking what Panel 61 would look like. For more information and to submit a work for the Phillips’s website, please contact vdjen@phillipscollection.org.


  Contact Carol Dyson at art@busboysandpoets.com


    Artist Call begins:  August 9, 2016
    Artist Call ends: September 13, 2016
    Jurors selection of art:  September 15 -20th, 2016
    Accepted artists notified, including exhibition location: by September 23, 2016
    All work must be delivered to location: September 26–September 28, 2016
    Installs at Busboys and Poets locations: September 30–October 12, 2016
    Exhibition opening: Saturday, October 15
    Exhibition dates:  October 15, 2016–March 5, 2017