Closed Call for Entry: WHAT A RELIEF: small relief sculptures

Presented by Washington Sculptors Group and Phillips@THEARC


1801 Mississippi Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20020

EXHIBITION DATES: Friday, December 17, 2021 - Friday, March 18, 2022

JURORS: Nehemiah DIxon III and Vesela Sretenovic

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Sunday, November 14, 2021 (received by 11:59pm EST, received through the submission site EntryThingy


This small scale exhibition invites artists to rethink and expand upon the tradition of relief sculpture in contemporary terms. The word relief comes from the Latin verb relivare, to raise, implying that the sculpted material has been raised above its supporting  background such as facades, walls, or tombs and sarcophagi. The most notable examples range from the ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Middle-Eastern, Pre-Columbian and South Indian cultures to Greek and Roman temples, Middle Ages cathedral decoration, and more modern sculptural expressions including Auguste Rodin’s Gates of Hell (1880-1917). Whether done in low (flattened) or high relief (illusionistic), the technique itself presents unique challenges; it combines two- and three-dimensional forms that are either driven by a specific  narrative or a desire for sheer patterning and decoration, while also exploring the enduring figure-ground relationship. Today the technique largely seems to be out of date and old-fashioned. The idea behind the WHAT A RELIEF exhibition is to bring relief sculpture back to life and give way to new and fresh approaches to this centuries long art practice. 

--Vesela Sretenović


Nehemiah DIXON III is Director of Community Engagement at the Phillips Collection. Previously, he was a successful nonprofit leader, artist, coach, teacher, administrator and executive level director. He has extensive knowledge in gallery management, fundraising, curatating, teaching and public speaking. He is an enthusiastic networker, forming partnerships with local and national artists to increase public awareness and support for arts programming in the DMV area. Nehemiah received his B.F.A from the Maryland Institute, and his work has been exhibited at The Foggy Bottom SculptureBiennial, The Phillips Collection, Pass Gallery, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Delaware College of Art and Design, The Sumner Museum and the Washington D.C. Superior Court.

Vesela Sretenović has been a senior curator of modern and contemporary art at The Phillips Collection since 2009 and has recently been named a Cross-departmental Director of Contemporary Art Initiative and Partnership. Upon her arrival to the Phillips, she initiated a series of ongoing art projects called Intersections, inviting contemporary artists—national and international, emerging and established—to engage with the museum's permanent collection and architecture and present or create new work. Additionally, Sretenović had organized numerous solo exhibitions of prominent artists including Robert Ryman, Ellsworth Kelly, Antony Gormley, Richard Tuttle, Los Carpinteros, and the first museum retrospective of Cuban artist Zilia Sanchez. She is currently preparing two projects by Madrid-based artist Daniel Canogar and Harlem-based Sanford Biggers. Prior to joining the Phillips, Sretenović spent ten years as curator at Bell Gallery, Brown University, while also teaching contemporary art and art theory at the Rhode Island School of Design. Earlier in her career, Sretenović worked at SUNY Buffalo and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. She holds an MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Doctoral degree in Humanities from Syracuse University.


Sunday, November 14, 2021 (received by 11:59pm EST)

Participating artists can upload submissions through EntryThingy ( What a Relief will be juried from digital images submitted through the EntryThingy site, and there is a $5 processing fee for uploading images. No entries will be accepted by mail or email.


The exhibition is open to members of the Washington Sculptors Group only. Artists who are not already members may join WSG by paying annual dues of $45 ($15 for full-time students). Prospective members may download a membership form from the WSG website (, and send a checks=, along with the membership form, to the WSG address, or may join online through PayPal on the WSG website. Existing WSG members must renew their dues for 2022 to be eligible for this exhibition.


All submitted works must be wall hung. Small works are encouraged and works must not exceed 16 x 16 inches in size. Artists can submit up to 5 images of works created in the past 3 years along with a brief narrative stating conceptual, aesthetic, and cultural aspects of the work and bio ( 300 words max).

  • All media including digital is accepted
  • Perishable and hazardous materials are not permitted
  • Selected artists must provide works ready-to-hang
  • Artists must deliver to and pick up their works from the site (Phillips@THEARC, 1801 Mississippi Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20020) during the designated installation period (see calendar below)
  • All submissions must be made through EntryThingy (


Phillips@THEARC insures works on loan after the work is delivered and the exhibition loan agreement is signed. Insurance during transportation is the responsibility of the artist. All sales must go directly through the artist. Phillips@THEARC does not handle sales or take commissions on any sold work.


  • All submissions must be anonymous.
  • Submit all images with a resolution of 300 dpi and a maximum of 2MB each. Video files must be smaller than 50MB each (about five minutes).
  • Files should be named with only the title of the work (no first or last names). Use the actual title for each work. Example:

Title 1.jpeg

Title 1 (detail).jpeg

Title 2.jpeg

Title 3.jpeg


  • The EntryThingy platform allows you to submit a brief statement about how your work relates to the exhibition’s requirements. It also offers you a chance to provide a brief description of each work along with a title, dimensions, etc. To avoid being disqualified, do not include your name in either the statement or any of the description paragraphs.


  1. Applicants should go to and click on the tab (at the top) “for artists”. 
  2. Click on “list of current calls”.
  3. Scroll down and click on the What a Relief listing.
  4. Create a login account to if you don’t have an account, or if you do, login to your existing account with the “Click here to login” button.  After logging in, select the What a Relief call and complete the entry steps.
  5. There is a $5 entry fee. 
  6. All applicants will receive ‘accepted’ or ‘not accepted’ notifications via email.


Exhibition Dates:        Friday, December 17, 2021– Friday, March 18, 2022

Call for Entry Posted:    Tuesday, September 14, 2020

Submission Deadline:    Sunday, November 14, 2021 (received by 11:59pm EST)

Jurying Period:        Monday, November 15– Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Artist Notification:        Friday, November 19th

Drop off & Installation:    Friday, December 10, 2021

All existing social distancing recommendations will be followed. We may have to limited number of artists present at the same time, in which case artists will be required to sign up for specific time slots during the installation period. Additional details will be sent out to accepted artists.

Opening Reception:    Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Artist /Juror Talk:    Thursday, February 10, 2022

    This may change depending on public health recommendations. Updates will be sent closer to the date and announced by email and on social media.

Deinstallation/Pick up:    Thursday, March 24, 2022 (10am-6pm)

Please contact with any questions.

About Phillips@THEARC: The Phillips Collection’s workshop and gallery at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) provides a space to view, discuss, make, and exhibit art. Our programs are co-created with our partners and participants to encourage authentic community dialogue, community planning, and community action. Our work is about making friends, sustaining relationships, and bringing joy. 

The Washington Sculptors Group is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of sculpture and fostering exchanges among sculptors, sculpture enthusiasts and the public. Organized in 1984, membership has grown to over 400; WSG sponsors frequent public programs and organizes professional sculpture exhibitions juried by prominent curators. Visit to join WSG, to view the Web Gallery of members’ work, and to subscribe to the WSG newsletter.

Phillips@THEARC Gallery