Gallery West – Call for Submissions “Selfies, Real or Imagined: An Exhibition of Visual and Literary Art"

  Call to Artists

Gallery West is currently accepting submissions for its exhibition, Selfies: Real or Imagined, which will be held in late April of 2015. This exhibition will present a broad range of contemporary art and literature using all media in one, two or three-dimensional works. The exhibition is organized by Sara Cogswell, Director of Gallery West, and will include works by both emerging and established artists, internationally and from across the United States.

Social media and the mobile web have given rise to a strange phenomenon called the selfie. What is a selfie? A portrait of yourself, visual or written, usually shared on a social networking website. There are many selfie styles, and numerous psychological factors that might drive any specific person to create a selfie and share it.

This exhibition will explore the wide arena of selfies, either from the perspective of the artist or writer themselves, or an alter ego, as if from another person, animal, mythical or fantasy character…anything the artist or writer can imagine. Writers might share their visions of themselves in poetry or short verse.



  • Only unique, one-of-a-kind works of art and literature will be accepted. These may include drawing, painting, collage, prints, photography, sculpture, fiber, and ceramics. Multiples are not accepted.
  • A literary component has been added to expand the scope of this exhibition. Flash fiction, poetry, or prosetry, 500 words or less, will now be accepted. Accepted submissions in literature will be compiled into a chapbook, which will be edited by Susan Levi Wallach and Ed Madden, and published in limited edition by Muddy Ford Press.
  • A literary prize in the amount of $250 will be awarded to one writer. All writers whose work is accepted and included in the chapbook will receive two copies of the publication. Additional chapbooks will be published for purchase.


  • Artworks selected for inclusion in the exhibition must be suitably framed and/or made ready for installation, no exceptions.
  • All artworks must be for sale. A “Price on Request” designation is not acceptable. 
The submission of and entry to “Selfies: Real or Imagined” will constitute agreement by the entrant to all conditions set forth in this prospectus.
  • All submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 16, 2015. Materials received after January 16 will not be considered. Gallery West assumes the responsibility of insuring and caring for works of art selected for exhibition at the gallery. The artist will cover shipping costs, arrange for transportation of art works to and from the gallery, and insure works while in transit. After works are selected for exhibition, the gallery reserves the right to photograph and reproduce images of selected entries for publication, education, and publicity purposes.Each artist may submit up to five jpeg images on CD (200 dpi or larger at 1024 x 768 pixels) to the Gallery West address, or via email ( Writers may submit up to five pieces, each 500 words or less, via email to (, or by mail to the Gallery West address below.Artists will be notified of their status by mid-February, 2015. A contract will be sent when participation is confirmed.
  • All images must be of works made within the past two years (between 2012-2014), and must be accompanied by a checklist of the works submitted for review, including title, date, materials, dimensions and price. Slides are not accepted.
  • Up to 5 images of recent work in jpeg format
for visual artists
  • Up to 5 submissions of written word, each 500 words or less
  • Detailed image list (including title, year, media, dimensions, and price)
  • Current resume or C.V. (please include mail and email address)
  • Artist statement


All submissions must be received by 5pm, January 16, 2015.

Please address submissions to:


Sara Cogswell, Director

Gallery West

118 State Street

West Columbia SC 29169



James C. McMillan's Art-Life Itself at Gallery West by Rachel Haynie

  Four Dream Builders by James C. McMillan

Gallery West’s current exhibition of James C. McMillan’s career-spanning work – Art – Life Itself, will conclude in a way most appropriate for this venerable artist and teacher – with his paintings, drawings and fine art prints sharing space with local art students.

To cap off the McMillan exhibition, Gallery West plans September 30 as an evening on its back terrace featuring the young African American urban jazz musician known as Dubber. And on the gallery walls, McMillan’s work will be joined by works of two art students from Benedict; the students’ work will remain on view a view weeks beyond McMillan’s show - Art – Life Itself - which ends October 1.

Although McMillan’s work, currently on view at Gallery West, 118 State Street in West Columbia, is not presented as a retrospective, the North Carolina native and octogenarian said the pieces gallery owner Sara Cogswell chose for Art - Life Itself span many of his creative and artistic iterations. When he arrived for his own show, to see for himself how the work had been hung, he sauntered through the connected gallery spaces as though he was perusing a review of his life.

A ground-breaking arts educator and college professor, having retired in 1988 from Guilford College where he became the Art Department’s first African-American chair, after teacher earlier at Bennett College, McMillan nurtured many fledging artists during four decades of teaching. At his Gallery West show, he reminisced about the art teacher who first validated the artist in him.

“The first time I had real art materials in my hands, they were given to me by an art teacher who had bought them and brought them back from New York, so the way she presented them to me articulated that this was special. I was special; she saw promise in me,” McMillan recalled. “They were charcoals, and I began to realize you could do different things with different materials. I was just a kid then, only in the eighth grade.”

Yet the realization that an art teacher could have such impact on an inspiring young artist remains with McMillan still, and he has taken great care, and felt great responsibility throughout his career as a teacher – to protect and nurture creativity. “Because I was encouraged by teachers as well as my parents, who were educators before me, I sensed a particular obligation to encourage curiosity, creativity’s doorway.”

Having begun college at only 15, McMillan had barely completed three of his undergraduate years at Howard University when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and he was drafted, with one year remaining before he would have earned his degree. His early service in the U.S. Navy took him back to the Pacific, to the very place where WWII was ignited for America. After armistice the G.I. Bill allowed him to continue his education at Skowhegen School in Maine. Visiting artists to the revered school, from Europe and America’s cultural centers, became McMillan’s mentors.

Little Annie with Mother by James C. McMillan

He recognizes that his own art was “still blooming when I began teaching. I felt that teaching came with the requirement to continue learning, growing, experimenting, and that I must take care of my own creativity as I was coaxing it out of my students.”

Before Gallery West officially opened Art-Life Itself, McMillan was welcomed to Columbia one day early by Friends of African American Art and Culture. This show, in mediums ranging from painting and drawing to printmaking, represents work created before and during his time in Paris, carrying through to the Civil Rights Movement, and now into McMillan's most recent work that captures the "movement" of North Carolina’s landscape, from mountains to sea, created from the 1940s to the present.