Creative Engagement

Call to Artists
Submergence: Going Below the Surface with Orca and Salmon

You are invited to submit works to an innovative, multi-media exhibition on the theme of southern resident orca and Chinook salmon co-recovery. Submergence: Going Below the Surface with Orca and Salmon is the culminating project in a series of orca-salmon co/recovery projects created collaboratively by non-profit organizations Creature Conserve and the Endangered Species Coalition. Visual artists, writers, and audio-video artists are invited and eligible to contribute works for consideration. The exhibition will take place in the New Media and Atrium Galleries at Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle, WA. Selected works will be displayed in a multimedia exhibition during the month of June, 2021, Orca Month.

Guiding Themes for the Exhibition

Southern resident orca and Chinook salmon are wildlife interwoven into experiences, ideas, stories and identities in the Pacific Northwest. For Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and British Columbia communities, orca and salmon embody and reflect both a sense of place and contribute to place-making, carrying social, economic, political and psychological significance. Coastal and inland Indigenous peoples regard and respect orca and salmon as honored relations. Within the ecosystems where they live, southern resident orca and Chinook salmon are apex species, providing essential benefits to hundreds of other species.

Yet, orca and salmon are imperiled – they are iconic animals at risk of extinction.

Submergence: Going Below the Surface with Orca and Salmon asks creatives to reimagine a future for our region, one where southern resident orca and salmon are once again thriving species. A future where Chinook and our other salmon species are able to navigate a free-flowing Snake River; where southern resident orca have enough Chinook salmon to eat; where reductions to pollutants address harmful accumulations of toxins in orca and salmon; and where vessel noise reductions improve the ability of orca to echolocate for salmon. This show invites artists, writers, and audio-visual creators to examine the science of orca-salmon co/recovery, to understand how and why these animals are imperiled, and to apply this cross-disciplinary collaborative model to an innovative exhibition centered on the co/recovery of orca and salmon.

Submission Dates

Please submit works for consideration at the Entry Submission Form link below.

Call opens to submissions: Thursday, February 25th

Call closes to submissions: Thursday, April 1st at 11:59 PM PST

1. The call is open to adults, age 16 and over
2. The call is open to both US and International artists, provided postage and an appropriate mailing container are provided for the return of accepted juried works mailed to the exhibition.

Media specific submission guidelines:

Please read carefully and follow all instructions.

Visual Artists

Artists may submit up to 3 visual works for consideration. All media will be considered, including but not limited to: photography, illustration, painting, drawing, digital illustration, sculpture, fiber, etc. Written works submitted to the exhibition may be submitted to the visual arts category, if in the form of a visual text (i.e. words which are presented visually, as in a calligraphic script or a painted text). Works included in the show will be accepted framed or unframed. Unframed work should be created purposefully for display without a frame. Framing will not be provided. Works of varied dimensions will be considered.

For each work submitted, please enter the following information on the submission form.

Required: media

Required: size i.e. width x height for 2D works or width x length x depth for 3D works

Optional: brief description (max 3 sentences) about the work


Written works may be submitted as text only. A maximum of three (3) works will be reviewed.

Text works submitted to the show may be used in one of two ways:

1 printed as a letterpress broadside or

2 recorded by voice actors to be incorporated into an audio piece integrating orca vocalizations and human voice, created specifically for the exhibition.

1 Text for letterpress works must be fewer than 60 words in length; longer works may be submitted and edited (with permission from the writer after works are accepted) for printing as a letterpress broadside

2 Text to be incorporated into the recorded work may be edited (with permission from the writer after works are accepted) 500 words maximum.


Audio-video artists may submit up to three audio and/or video works for consideration. The three works submitted should be sample sections of video or complete videos no longer than 5 minutes combined total length.

Submitted works may be:

  1. samples of previously produced work reflecting the style of your proposed work, with a written description of the work to be created for the exhibition or
  2. finished works on the exhibition theme, new or previously produced

Please note: works accepted to the exhibition should be no more than 5 mins in length, whether created for the exhibit, new works, or previously produced works.

Submission Donation

There is no cost to submit works for consideration for inclusion in the juried exhibition.

In lieu of a submission fee, if you are in a position to do so, show entrants are encouraged to provide a donation of any amount to Sacred Sea. Donations are gratefully welcomed; no one will be denied consideration for show entry on the basis of ability or inability to make a donation.

Sacred Sea’s mission is to “… preserve, protect, and promote Lummi sovereignty, treaty rights, and schelangen by defending and revitalizing Xw’ullemy (Salish Sea bioregion) waters.” Donations received will support the return of “… Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (Tokitae/Lolita), advocate for our qwe ‘lhol mechen (orca), replenish salmon runs, and defend the sanctity of the Salish Sea”  (text in quotes from

Notification and Work Delivery

Artists will be notified of the jurors’ decisions by Monday, April 26th

Final works must be delivered by the week of May 24th; exact dates to be provided

-Works may be mailed to Jack Straw Cultural Center; please provide a return mailing method and correct postage for the return of works

-Works may be sent electronically (as appropriate to media type)

-Works may be delivered to the gallery in person on dates specified

-Works may be picked up after the close of the show on dates to be announced -or- returned via mail as described above

Juror Bios

Miranda Mellis is the author of Demystifications, The Instead; The Quarry; The Spokes; None of This Is Real; Materialisms; and The Revisionist. Look for her seasonal column, The Trinocular, at The Believer. She was a co-founding editor of The Encyclopedia Project and currently teaches writing, literature, and environmental humanities at The Evergreen State College.

Jordan K Walker is a fine artist, illustrator, and art instructor based in western Oregon. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in 2016, and has spent his life exploring rugged coastlines and lush forests, marveling at the world’s incredible natural spaces and the creatures that inhabit them. Through his work he seeks to celebrate the wonders of the natural world, and his paintings have appeared in numerous print publications, galleries, and museums.

Hugo Flores has worked at different levels of the salmon conservation phases; conducting field work to assess wild salmon habitat using the Timber Fish and Wildlife methodology along South Puget Sound rivers and tributaries, and implementing policies and regulations under the Shoreline Management Act and Growth Management Act statewide. Hugo earned his Masters in Environmental Studies Degree (MES) from The Evergreen State College.

Sara Everett makes paintings that are torn, cut and then stitched back together as mended totems for species and places that are barely hanging on by a thread. She also consults as a curator for real estate development in the Seattle area, as well as serves on the Board of Directors of Seattle’s Uptown Arts District.

Exhibit Curator Bio

Jeanne Dodds is a visual artist whose work investigates human and more-than-human relationships, conflicts and interdependencies. After earning a BFA in Photography and a Certificate in Scientific Illustration, she owned and operated a small arts business for a decade, creating artwork and teaching via artist residencies in the US and internationally. She graduated with a Master of Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College and is currently the Creative Engagement Director for the Endangered Species Coalition.

Resources for the creation of works

The workshop series leading up to this call to artists and exhibition vision incorporated educational workshops for artists and creative writers. In the workshop, creatives learned from scientists and Indigenous experts, who shared information to support the generation of creative works exploring orca and salmon co-recovery. Through this process, we’ve developed some helpful resources for you to create works on this theme. The Creature Conserve orca-salmon conservation page includes a basic overview of threats to orca and salmon and provides many resources for further investigation. Visit Creature Conserve to understand their model of artist-scientist collaboration, and how you can apply these tactics to your own work about conserving orca, salmon and all wildlife. The Endangered Species Coalition Southern Resident Orcas page provides information about and actions for orca and salmon conservation.

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