Call for Artists!

Spectacle in Motion AD detail

A Spectacle in Motion is an upcoming exhibition that will premiere a never-before-seen digital facsimile of the longest painting in America – the 1,275-foot-long Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World. The Whaling Museum is inviting artists to submit proposals for unique interpretations of the Panorama. Artists of every medium are encouraged to participate, from painting and sculpture, to visual and performing artists, and from music to the written word.

The exhibition will include a theatrical replication of the panorama in its original format – as a moving Panorama on stage – complete with contextual objects that will regale visitors on the history of the artists, the evolution of visual culture and entertainment, maritime literature, cultural connections, and the maritime history and culture of mid-19th century America.

The Panorama is a maritime artwork of national historical importance, authentically depicting a whaling voyage originating from the port of New Bedford. It was originally designed as a moving panorama and performed on stage for audiences in the 19th century and was complemented by live narration, music, and other special effects.


Information Packet (downloadable pdf)


Step #1:  Get inspired!

Learn about the Panorama, its significance as an authentic depiction of a whaling voyage, its relevance to the maritime history of the region, its value as a representation of the public spectacle era, its illustration of the global cultural, social, and industrial impacts of whaling, and its portrayal of national myths of the romantic life on the high seas.

Artists will receive access the digital Panorama movie and images, along with additional supplementary information after agreeing to a non-disclosure term that can be found here:

Call for Artists Non-disclosure Form

Important! The material shared with you CANNOT be shared publicly in advance of the Museum’s exhibition.  


Step #2:  Submit a Proposal by Friday, May 18

Submit to Tina Malott             

Artists may submit one proposal in a word or pdf document and they must include:

  • Artist Statement (2-3 paragraphs describing artist, general approach, and medium)
  • Examples (descriptions or images) of past work (1-3 examples)
  • Description of artist’s interpretation of the Panorama, including written description of project and title
  • Estimated schedule of completion



A jury of judges including curators, historians, and other Museum staff members will evaluate proposals for uniqueness, feasibility, creativity, relevance to object, and appropriateness. The Whaling Museum will notify all finalists by June 1 if they have been selected to participate and work with individual artists on timeframe and viewing/showing details. Since this is a multi-media call for artists, the exhibition of work will differ (date/format/timeframe) for each artist. The Museum has a limited budget that may be allocated to artists for project supplies, but this will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed.


Important Dates:

Proposal submission(s) due: Friday, May 18, 2018
Notification of finalists: June 1, 2018