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The Freedom Principle: Call for Posters


Mock up of first-floor wall

© MCA Chicago

Concert of Modern Music, Richard Abrams Experimental band poster, 1965. Courtesy of Muhal Richard Abram

Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

Kalaparusha and the Light, 1966. Courtesy Of Muhal Richard Abrams

Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago

Win a pair of passes to Pitchfork and an MCA Membership by creating a poster for our exhibition The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now in the style of a concert or gig poster. The two winning works will be displayed in the MCA! We're looking for creative takes on posters for this music and art-centered exhibition, similar to the way that a band might make a poster for a summer tour, or to the way that Pitchfork creates a poster for their festival and all the bands playing at it: think wheat-pasted posters on Halsted, or tacked-up band posters in your favorite local record store. Our poster is a contemporary take on our archive of posters supporting concerts by the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians). The winning posters must be an original design and feel contemporary; it should include a strong link to the exhibition's content of art and music and the varied artistic practices featured. The winning design also must meet the design specifications below, especially that the design must be in the black ink on a solid color background. Look through our website to learn more about the exhibition for your winning design. Submit your entry now, all entries are due by midnight July 13\. A panel of judges including Naomi Beckwith, cocurator of The Freedom Principle, and MCA Design Director Dylan Fracareta will select two winning entries on July 14!



Please note: the poster will print with black ink only on a solid background; your design must meet that requirement for printing.

1) Inks: 1 color, black (all posters will print in black ink)

2) Layout: Should fit 18 (W) x 24 (H) inches

3) File format: a digital file must be delivered to the MCA for production in a timely manner. Acceptable formats: TIFF, press quality PDF, or packaged InDesign files. All typefaces must be outlined (i.e. typefaces must be made a part of the graphic)

4) File resolution: We understand that in the entry process resolution and scale may change, but the final file must be scaled/placed at 100% and saved as 300 dpi.

5) Design must be original and are encouraged to be rendered in any medium. May include photography, drawing, etc., but all must be original to the entrant, or entrant must have copyright clearance or model release to anyone or anything pictured and provide that to the MCA on request.

6) Paper stock: 65 lb, fluorescent paper (various Mohawk Astrobright series) as selected by the MCA.


Mandatory text to include:

1) Title: The Freedom Principle

2) Date (can express in any format): Jul 11–Nov 22

3) MCA Logo (white text on black version; black text on white version)

Optional text that could be included:

1) Subtitle: Experiments in Art and Music 1965 to Now

2) Expressions: a. Music you can see b. Art you can hear


  • Before entering, make sure that your submission matches the design specifications above.

There are 3 ways of entering this contest:

1) Post an image of your entry to this Facebook post. Make sure you also Like the MCA’s Facebook page.

2) Tweet an image of your entry, including these hashtags: #FreedomPrinciple #Pitchfork. To qualify via Twitter you must (a) Follow @MCAChicago on Twitter, (b) include the image of your entry in your tweet, and (c) include the two hashtags #FreedomPrinciple #Pitchfork.

3) Post your entry to Instagram including these hashtags: #FreedomPrinciple #Pitchfork. To qualify via Instagram you must (a) Follow @MCAChicago on Instagram, (b) make sure your final design follows the design specifications (which are rectangular, whereas Instagram is square), and (c) include the two hashtags #FreedomPrinciple #Pitchfork.

Terms and Conditions


The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (“MCA”) “The Freedom Principle” Design Contest (“Contest”) 2015 begins June 30, 2015, and ends July 13, 2015, at 11:59 pm Central Standard Time (CST).

All artists, photographers, designers, and creative individuals are eligible. Individuals affiliated with the MCA including current employees, trustees, volunteers, contractors, and their immediate families (children, siblings, and spouses) are not eligible to enter. By submitting an entry, each contestant agrees to the rules of the contest and states that he or she is 18 years old or older. THIS CONTEST IS NOT AVAILABLE IN COUNTRIES, STATES, OR PROVINCES WHERE RULES, TRANSLATION, REGISTRATION, OR BONDING ARE REQUIRED, AND IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.


See the above Design Specifications and Content Requirements.


Each submitted image, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material created by the Contest entrant. By entering the Contest, entrant acknowledges that the submitted image(s) is an original work created solely by the entrant, that the submission does not infringe on the copyrights, trademarks, moral rights, rights of privacy/publicity or intellectual property rights of any person or entity, and that no other party has any right, title, claim, or interest in the image. Images that violate or infringe upon another person’s copyright are not eligible.


For a entry in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release from the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian and provide it to the MCA upon request. Similarly, entrants whose entrys depict other people’s work (such as sculptures, statues, paintings, and other copyrightable works) may need to obtain a release from the rights holder and provide it to the MCA upon request. When including the artwork of others, it must be as an object in its environment and not a full-frame close-up of another person’s creation.


Entries that contain sexually explicit, obscene, violent, or other objectionable or inappropriate content, as determined by the MCA in its sole discretion, are ineligible for this contest.


See Modes of Entry above.


Submissions will be judged on relevance to the content, ideas, principles and varied practices expressed by The Freedom Principle exhibition, followed by formal, visual, and aesthetic merits. Judging and winning entries will be selected by a panel of MCA staff:

1) Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator and cocurator of The Freedom Principle

2) Dylan Fracareta, Design Director

3) Abraham Ritchie, Social Media Manager


The MCA will select (2) winners. Winning works will be announced by the MCA on July 14 by noon. The (2) finalists will be notified of their status by July 14, 2015, and must respond and contact the MCA within 48 hours to pick up their prize. If a winner does not respond and is disqualified, the MCA will select a new winner on July 16\. The winning works will be printed and displayed at the MCA in summer/fall of 2015, depending on the MCA's production schedule. Decisions of the Judges are final and binding.


The (2) winners will each receive (2) tickets to all (3) days of the Pitchfork Music Festival and (1) MCA Household Membership.


The MCA will announce the winners via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and will directly notify the winner via the entry on the social network that the entry was submitted on. The MCA may disqualify anyone who fails to respond to the notification within 48 hours. Please do not contact us about the status of entries or judging. Decisions of the Judges are final and binding.


This Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries void if the MCA determines the entry to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft. Participants also agree (a) to be bound by these Official Rules; (b) that the decisions of the Judges are final on all matters relating to the Contest; and (c) if he/she wins that the MCA may use each winner’s name, city, state, photograph, and entry in any publicity or advertising relating to current or future Contests. All federal, state, and local taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winners. The MCA, in its sole discretion, reserves the right not to award all prizes in the event an insufficient number of eligible entries meeting the minimum judging criteria are received, and in this case will return the entry fees. In the event that the selected winner(s) of any prize are/is ineligible, does not contact the MCA, or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and the MCA, in its sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another entrant. The MCA reserves the right to adjust any deadline(s) as the result of causes beyond its immediate control. The MCA reserves the right to cancel the contest at any time.


You retain your rights to your work; however, by entering the contest, you grant the MCA (and those authorized by the MCA) a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to publicly display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or later developed, for any MCA purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and promotion of the magazine and its website, exhibition, and commercial products, including but not limited to MCA publications. Any image reproduced will include a credit as feasible. The MCA will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses. You also grant the MCA a nonexclusive right, in perpetuity, to:

  • Use, your name, city, state, and country of residence in MCA promotions and publications.
  • Use, in connection with the current and any future Contest, your image on partner and third party promotions and publications.
  • Keep the files provided, and to archive the images in electronic forms, so that your entry can be used in connection with the current and any future Contest.

Upon the MCA’s request, each entrant must be prepared to provide a signed written personal release from all persons who appear in the work submitted, authorizing us to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entry in connection with and promotion of the contest, in any media now or hereafter. In addition, upon the MCA’s request, each entrant must be prepared to provide a signed written license from the copyright owner of any sculpture, artwork, or other copyrighted material that appears in the entry, authorizing us to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the submission in connection with and promotions of the contest. Failure to provide such releases upon request may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner.


By participating, entrants agree to release, discharge, and hold harmless the MCA and each of its partners, affiliates, agents, and its employees, directors, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Contest or any Contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder. The MCA assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to Contest entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. The MCA is not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the internet or at any web site, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrants’ or any other persons’ computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to this Contest.


If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the MCA that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, the MCA reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. If the MCA elects to cancel or terminate the Contest, the MCA will not retain any rights in the submitted works.


Questions and inquiries about Contest rules can be emailed to [email protected].