Call for Visual Art Submissions

Nneena Freelon as the clothesline museNneena Freelon views the black washerwoman as a super hero of American history.

The arduous work of making soap from ashes and lard, rubbing soiled clothes on a scrub board, boiling clothes in a large pot and stirring them with a stick, ironing them with a heavy flat iron heated on a fireplace or stove, hanging them up to dry, folding, packing and delivering laundry every week was an incredible feat of labor.

She also views the clothesline as a metaphor for a site where older black women shared wisdom with younger women and girls.

Maya Freelon Asante's tissue paper art colorfully symbolizes laundry in the Clothesline Muse theatrical productionFreelon knows this history directly from her own family experience. Her grandmother was a washerwoman. 

To all African American women who did difficult maintenance work, Freelon says we owe gratitude and acknowledgment that such work was not “menial.”  It was heroic.

Nneena Freelon also believes that the extraordinary capacity and endurance of the washerwoman can be an energizing source of inspiration for women encountering challenges in contemporary life.

Freelon is an internationally-acclaimed jazz singer who also writes songs, acts, produces theatrial pieces and is the spouse of architect Phil Freelon.

Clothespin necklace-wearing performers in the Clothesline Muse theatrical productionTo honor the hardworking women of her grand- and greatgrandmother's generations and to preserve and pass on the history of their lives and work, Freelon, her daughter, the artist Maya Freelon Asante; and Maya’s mother-in-law, choreographer Kariamu Welsh organized the multifaceted Clothesline project. It includes an visual arts exhibition, a historical photo archive, and a theatrical production.

On December 3, 2015, the project issued this call for visual art submissions:

Clothesline Musings | Art Inspired by The Clothesline

Clothesline Musings | Art Inspired by The Clothesline is an interactive, multimedia exhibition that explores contemporary visual artists’ relationship to the Clothesline. This is an open call to visual artists inspired by the Clothesline, hand washing, line drying, clothesline games, memories, and the environmental impact of taking in the wash.

Cary Arts Center and Aion Productions are co-producing this exhibition in conjunction with The Clothesline Muse theatrical play premiering March 18, 2016. We are seeking visual art submissions, including painting, drawing, sculptures, mixed media, and digital art. Clothesline Musings will also feature the artwork of world-renowned artist and NC native, Beverly McIver, as well as art from The Clothesline Muse theatrical production, historical artifacts, performance and video. The exhibition will be curated by a team of professional artists from the Town of Cary Arts Center and Aion Productions.

To Submit Art Work

Submissions Deadline: 11:59pm, January 15, 2016

Submit art work here.   

Tavis Smiley’s interview with Nneena Freelon about the Clothesline muse is here.