The following opportunity has been shared on behalf of a member or affiliate of the Austin Area African American Behavioral Health Network. 

high signs and beacons banner


If an African identity is to empower us, what is required is not so much that we throw out falsehood, but that we acknowledge first of all that race and history and metaphysics do not enforce an identity: that we can choose within broad limits set by ecological, political, and economic realities what it will mean to be African in the coming years.    
– Kwame A. Appiah


How do we weave narratives from history, myth, and literature that will cultivate abundant futures?

How can creatives help expand our identities as Black people?

What folklore has been adopted that no longer serve us?

And how has this moment laid bare all that is broken?

High Signs & Beacons is a project of CarverMuseumATX, Six Square, the City of Austin Equity office, and the African American Heritage Facility that calls on artists, poets, scholars, and writers of African descent to join  in a mutual aid effort. More than ever, people need help grounding in this moment and visualizing a collective future. This is an invitation to engage with the isolation, uncertainty, and essential chaos of these times…

What we know is that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the current pandemic, and African Americans are some of the least likely to recover once they have contracted COVID-19. While this is real, how do we (un)speak this onto ourselves? How do we speak health and wealth onto all people when we are blessed and plagued by the pre-existing condition(s) of Blackness? We are in the midst of a system reset, and we need your help to prepare for and imagine this future.


This project will select 8-12 creative teams consisting of one visual artist and one writer/poet/scholar to co-develop one large scale outdoor sign. These signs will be made of materials typically used for political campaigns and placed in people’s front yards. The final works will then be installed and displayed throughout the African American Cultural Heritage District.

The signs will be 4ft x 8ft (or larger) with 33% – 50% of the visual real-estate dedicated to text in the form of a proverb, haiku, or short phrase that literally or subjectively responds to the following questions and prompts:

Define the term essential.

My present is____________.

My future is ____________ .

What myth and/or folklore will become reality?

Who benefits?
What will it mean for us to live in the aftermath of this global pandemic?

What does it mean to re-evaluate our relationship to living and living amongst other people?

Old world or new?

Artists will then develop visual iconography  that complements, contradicts or otherwise inspires deeper understanding of the written text. Selected creative teams will receive an honorarium of $1,000.00 ($500.00/each) to be paid once the final design files have been approved by the curatorial team. The Carver Museum & Cultural Center and its partners will cover the cost of printing and installation.
Selection Criteria

Participating artists must identify as people of African descent. Women, people living with disabilities, immigrants, and people who identify as LGBTQIA+   will be given additional consideration.  Priority will be given to artists living in Austin/Travis County.  A small number of applications will be considered from teams living within the state of Texas. Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • artistic merit, clarity of concept, and adherence to project guidelines
  • statement of impact related to COVID-19
  • scalability and readiness of project to move into production
Submission Requirements

Artists must apply in teams of two and will need to submit the following:

  • a working title of the proposed collaboration
  • 50-100 word bios
  • Two hi-resolution headshots
  • Statement of Impact
  • Website and/or Instagram Links
  • 5-7 sentence description of the submitted proposal

Additional project parameters are detailed in the application.
Apply to learn more!

Submission Deadlines: Friday, May 22, 2020 at 11:59 pm CST

Notification of Acceptance: May 29, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Final Text/Artwork Deadline: June 5, 2020

Honorarium Disbursement: June 8th – June 12th

Installation: TBA

Walk/Bike/Drive Tour Launch: TBA

Through the preservation and exhibition of African American material culture, history, and aesthetic expression, the Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center works to create a space where the global contributions of all Black people are celebrated. We accomplish this by telling stories about our local community and connecting those histories to larger narratives about Blackness.