Open Call for Our Bodies Ourselves

An unjuried exhibition

March 7 – April 10, 2019

Public Reception: Sunday, March 10, 1 – 3pm

Deadline to complete ONLINE entry form: February 25, 2019, by 10 am
Drop off dates: Sunday, February 24, 1 – 4 pm and Monday, February 25, 10 am – 1 pm
Pick up artwork: Wednesday, April 10, 7 – 8pm and Sunday, April 14, 1 – 3 pm

Each year during Women’s History Month, ECOCA showcases In Grace We Trust, an exhibition that commemorates the philanthropic work of Grace Taylor Ely who transformed her home at 51 Trumbull Street into a space for local artists to gather and show their work. Since her passing, the Ely Estate and Friends of John Slade Ely House of Contemporary Art have carried on this tradition, maintaining the building as a place that supports New Haven’s artist communities. In Grace We Trust addresses ideas of tradition and change — a nod to the past as we confront current societal challenges and rise together to create future narratives.
This year, we take inspiration from Our Bodies Ourselves, the pivotal book first published in 1970 in Boston, on the cusp of the 2nd wave of feminism. The book has become a trusted source of support for generations of women who continue to use what they learn in its pages to claim control over their bodies. The 2011 edition, the last print edition, focuses on women’s reproductive health and sexuality. It includes dozens of personal stories and essential, up-to-date information about gender identity, sexual orientation, birth control, abortion, pregnancy and birth, perimenopause, menopause, health issues such as breast and ovarian cancers, and sexuality and sexual health as we age.
Nearly half a century after the first printing of Our Bodies Ourselves, we are still struggling with a system that allows for “inhumane legal restrictions, the imperfections of available contraceptives, the poor sex education, the highly priced and poorly administered health care that keep too many [people] from having this crucial control over their bodies.” (Preface to the 1973 Edition of “Our Bodies Ourselves”).
Inspired by Our Bodies Ourselves, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, was published in 2014 as a resource guide for transgender, gender expansive, and non-binary populations, covering health, legal issues, cultural and social questions, history, theory, and more. It is a place for transgender, gender expansive, non-binary, and gender questioning people, their partners and families, and others to look for up-to-date information on life under the trans umbrella. Artists of all genders are invited to share their work and experiences in this exhibition.
Our communities are strengthened through art as it fuels collaborative exchange and encourages us to understand and take responsibility for our mental, spiritual, and physical selves. Art continues to be a valuable tool for individuals to express their personal experiences and a social activator that brings communities together to address common concerns. Inspired by the work writers and editors of Our Bodies Ourselves have done over the years, this exhibition aims to create a safe, open forum in which to share concerns, hopes, and ideas.

Throughout the show duration, the Ely Center will host a series of related public programming, including a panel discussion with performances, film screenings, workshops, and artists talks. Check back!


We invite all culture producers and all genders—artists, writers, thinkers, makers-to participate in this exhibition with work that addresses issues of consent, gender, equity, health, spirituality and identity.

Interested artists, writers, performers, and collaborators can submit their work below using the Guidelines and Entry Form.

The Curatorial Team

Megan Shaughnessy
Mindi Englart
Aly Maderson Quinlog
Valerie Garlick
Briana Williams
Hanni Bresnick
Sophy Johnston
Debbie Hesse
Jeanne Criscola

A huge thank you to our partners, sponsors, and collaborators!


You can support this exhibition and its programming by making a donation of any amount. We always appreciate any support—including attending our events and sharing our social media!



Interested artists, writers, performers, and collaborators can submit their work here using the Guidelines and Entry Form.



Artwork Submissions

  • All artwork to be exhibited must be submitted on-line with entry fee before 10 am on February 25th—no exceptions!

  • Artists may submit up to three works (these must be single pieces e.g. if you have a triptych of paintings, please submit them as individual submissions).

  • Check the number of artworks you wish to enter in the form and the appropriate fields will appear.

  • Upload a high-quality, high-resolution jpg or png for each submission.

  • Provide the title, year, size, sale and insurance price for each artwork.

  • Check that you agree to the Our Bodies Ourselves Release of Liability and the Artwork Drop Off and Pick Up Requirements below.

  • Upon selecting the submit button, the files will upload. Please note this may take a few minutes depending on the size and number of the image files. Be patient—the payment form will appear once the files have uploaded successfully.

Artwork Drop Off and Pick Up Requirements

  • All artwork must be dropped off on Sunday, February 24, 1 – 4 pm or Monday, February 25, 10 am – 1 pm — no exceptions.

  • Exhibited artwork must be picked up on Wednesday, April 10, 7 – 8 pm and Sunday, April 14, 1 – 3 pm — no exceptions. Any work not picked up during these times will be charged a $5 per day storage fee. If left over 60 days shall become the property of the ECOCA.

  • Each artwork delivered must have a label attached to the back with the artist name, title and sale price. Please make sure it is easily detachable. All packing materials must be removed from the artwork at drop off and taken away.

  • Artists must provide all exhibition materials such as pedestals, museum wax, or hanging implements for their work. Please bring the work ready to hang and add any installation instruction to the label with your name and sale price.

  • Bring a letter-size printout of your bio and CV to add to the exhibition binder.

Want to be involved?

Would you like to sponsor an artist through the donation of an entry fee? Or would you like to support or sponsor an event? As we plan programming around this timely exhibition, we will provide updates on specific sponsorship opportunities. Send us an email and please put sponsor-our bodies ourselves in the subject line.

Would like to volunteer your time in exchange for the artwork entry fee? Just send an email using our contact form. Please put volunteer-our bodies ourselves in the subject line.

The Our Bodies Ourselves catalog

ECOCA may be publishing a catalog of the exhibition and information about it will be forthcoming to applicants.

Ely Center of Contemporary Art @ John Slade Ely House Galleries

51 Trumbull Street, New Haven, CT 06510


Entry Form

Release of Liability

Artist/Curator (Exhibitor), its employees, agents, successors and assigns (identified below) (“Artist”) grants permission to the Friends of John Slade Ely House of Contemporary Art, Inc., (Friends) its officers, directors, employees, agents and assigns (“Ely Center”) to reproduce his/her name, information describing the Exhibitor’s, work, representations of the Exhibitor’s work and any other information the Exhibitor has provided for the purpose of display, promotion and publicity either now or in the future on the terms and conditions set forth below (“Agreement”).

The Artist agrees to display, pack, transport and provide for the return of the Artist’s artwork at the Artist’s sole risk, cost and expense.

If the Exhibitor is not available on-site at the appropriate time to display, unpack, re-pack or re-transport the Exhibitor’s artwork, the Exhibitor hereby gives permission to the Ely Center to undertake any or all such activities on the Exhibitor’s behalf and the Exhibitor agrees to pay or reimburse the Ely Center for the reasonable value of the services rendered. Artworks left over 30 days after the date for final removal shall be kept in storage at the Exhibitor’s sole risk, with storage fees of $5 per day applied and if left over 60 days shall become the property of the Ely Center, without compensation being due. 

The Friends shall not be liable for any injury to the Exhibitor’s artwork, equipment or other personal property arising out of the above exhibitions/displays, the mounting and/or any other activities involved in the preparation and/or presentation of the exhibitions/displays and the Exhibitor agrees to assume all risk of damage to or loss of the Exhibitor’s artwork from whatever cause. The Exhibitor shall indemnify, save and hold harmless the Ely Center and any participating exhibition venues exhibiting or displaying the Exhibitor’s artwork as a result of this Agreement from any and all claims, demands, causes of action, judgments, liens, losses, costs and expenses, including but not limited to reasonable attorney’s fees, arising from the negligence of the Ely Center. This paragraph shall survive the completion of this Agreement or the earlier termination thereof.

The Exhibitor shall be solely and exclusively responsible to insure properly and adequately their artwork and personal property.

Neither Party shall assign nor transfer any of its respective rights or obligations under this Agreement without the express prior written consent of the other Party and any attempt to do so shall be void and of no effect.

Waiver by either party of any provision of this Agreement at any one time shall not operate or be construed as a waiver of any provision by such party at any time thereafter. The nullity of any provision hereunder shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the remaining provisions hereunder of the Agreement, which shall survive. Any dispute that arises hereunder, if it cannot be resolved by informal mediation, shall be resolved in a court having jurisdiction in New Haven County, Connecticut.

The gallery retains 30% of all sales, the artist receives 70%.

No artwork will be considered for display without the submission and signature of the form below.