Tacoma Art Museum is seeking applications from local creatives to commission a 5-minute original slam poetry performances in response to an artwork in 30 Americans.

About the Poetry Slam

Poetry Slam: The American Experience – Thursday, November 17, 6:30 – 8pm

Apply to create and perform a commissioned poem in response to an artwork of your choice from 30 Americans.   The theme is “The American Experience.” TAM will accept four performers for this event.   Emcee: Elijah H. Mu’ied


$200 for original poem in response to a work from 30 Americans and performance on November 17.

Applicants agree to

  • Visit the 30 Americans exhibition and select artwork as inspiration for an original poem
  • Create a 5-7 minute piece that responds to art in the exhibition.
  • Perform the work on Thursday, November 17.   Performer must be on-site by 5:30pm and stay until 8pm.
  • Meet and correspond with TAM staff as needed to prepare for the program.

About the Emcee

Elijah Mui’ed is the Spoken Word artist “6 Deep the Messenger!” He has been continuously involved in the performance arts throughout the Pacific Northwest for nearly 2 decades as an event host/emcee, featured performer, and workshop facilitator. His poetry is “all-encompassing” in its scope, ranging from politics and consciousness to love, hate, lust and “all that is in between!”   An outspoken voice for positive change through the arts, Elijah frequently lends his voice and talents at cultural events and showcases that speak to positive growth and change within the community.

About 30 Americans

From September 24 through January 15, TAM will host the nationally acclaimed exhibition 30 Americans, showcasing influential and prominent African American artists who have emerged since the 1970s as leading contributors to the contemporary art scene in the US and beyond. The exhibition has traveled nationally to 10 museums, and has broken attendance records at many of them. TAM is thrilled to open the exhibition’s West Coast debut, with 45 works on view.

Key messages in the exhibition

  • These artists in the exhibition are among the most prominent American artists over three generations.
  • The artists draw from their life experiences; their works present nuanced and provocative responses to Black identity in the US.
  • The legacies of slavery and segregation and the struggle for civil rights continue to have a profound impact on contemporary art.
  • The art encourages visitors to consider their own identity and how it informs their understanding of race.

Download the 30 Americans press release, and learn more on TAM’s website.


Open to all artists residing in Western Washington. Special consideration will be given to Tacoma-based applicants.

Applicant agrees to work with Tacoma Art Museum and adjust program arrangements as needed to comply with Tacoma Art Museum safety and facilities standards, programming goals, and budgetary restrictions.

Application Materials

Please email the following application materials to Britt Board at

  1. Brief bio
  2. Two work samples
  3. Statement about how you will connect your original poem to 30 Americans themes and/or works of art.     All proposals must be submitted on or before 5 pm, Friday, October 7, 2016.

You will receive a confirmation email when your materials have been received.

Selection Process

Community members and museum staff will review all complete applications submitted by the deadline (5 pm October 7, 2016). TAM will notify applicants of the selection results by 5 pm, Friday, October 14, 2016.

Selection Criteria

Participants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Statement
  • Work samples


Contact Britt Board, Community Engagement and Studio Programs Manager, at or 253-272-4258 x3062.

Thank you for your interest!   Please feel free to share this request for proposals with friends and colleagues.

Image credit: Glenn Ligon, America, 2008. Neon sign and paint, ed. of 1 plus AP, 24 í— 168 inches. Courtesy of the Rubell Family Collection.   A group of 30 Americans artists, left to right: Rashid Johnson, Nick Cave, Kalup Linzy, Jeff Sonhouse, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Barkley L. Hendricks, Hank Willis Thomas (front row), Xaviera Simmons, Purvis Young, John Bankston, Nina Chanel Abney, Henry Taylor, Mickalene Thomas (front row), Kerry James Marshall, and Shinique Smith. Photo credit: Kwaku Alston.