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Swimming prospectus and Application

March 31 – June 1, 2023
Application period: Through February 1, 2023

Swimming is an activity that puts bodies into bodies of water. It is also a universally-understood metaphor for moving through water, literal and symbolic:

  • A person can sink [fail] or swim [progress].
  • A person can drown: in the water, in the shark tank that is one’s work, in a sea of expectations [one’s own, others’].
  • Being underwater can mean one is drowning in debt, when the balance of one’s mortgage loan is higher than the fair market value of the property.
  • One sometimes treads water in an effort to keep one’s head above water.

Swimming is a direct-experience activity that engages the senses: on the skin [how refreshing or freezing cold the water feels]; in the mind-body [how one feels weightless, and buoyant] in water. Swimmers hear sound differently under and on the water.

Consider, too, swim wear – from the burka-like wool/flannel “bathing costume” of the 19th century; to the barely-there bikini and Speedo of the 20th century. How does swim wear reflect the culture’s views of modesty? One’s perception of one’s body in a swim suit? And, how easily one is able to swim in one’s swim wear of choice?

Lastly: Land ownership dictates who can swim in the lakes, streams, and rivers; who gets to walk the beach and where; and who gets to dip their toe into the neighborhood pool.

Looking For

Seeking work that explores and interprets the many facets and meanings of swimming, from strictly literal interpretations to abstracted responses. Open to visual art in 2D + 3D; representational and nonrepresentational; interpretive, realistic or abstract. Original work must be made by the applicant between 2021 to the present. The recent modification of an older or previously dated artwork DOES NOT make the artwork eligible unless the artist can provide significant documentation of differences between the original and revised versions of the piece.

Accepted Media

2D and 3D work using materials that include clay, pencil/crayon, fibers, metal, mixed media, paint, paper, plastic, wood; in the categories of fiber-wearable, fiber-non-wearable, furniture, photography, sculpture, ceramics, painting, drawing, mixed media, collage, and more.

Size Restrictions

  • 2D work should not exceed 48” in width or 65 in length.
  • 3D work must be freestanding and easily moved, not to exceed 35 pounds. Because of companion programs planned in conjunction with the exhibition, 3D work will be occasionally and temporarily relocated in the gallery and in the GAAC.

Application Fee

Applicants may enter up to two [2] submissions for the juror’s consideration. $25 GAAC member, $35 nonmember. This is a nonrefundable fee.

Exhibition Calendar

  • Exhibition: March 31 – June 1, 2023
  • Apply on-line: Through February 1, 2023 at 11:59 pm EST
  • Notification of acceptance: Early February 2023
  • Shipped work deadline: March 20 – 23, 2023
  • Drop-off: Friday, March 24 + Saturday, March 25, 9 am – 2 pm, both days
  • Pick-up: Friday, June 2 + Saturday, June 3, 2023 — 9 am — 2 pm both days
  • Reception: An opening reception in the GAAC gallery will be dependent upon State of Michigan COVID-19 operating guidelines.


Ashlea Walter lives in downtown Traverse City, Michigan with her family. She has a BA in Art and English from Kalamazoo College, and when she’s not swimming around islands, and all over the fresh water of Northern Michigan, hiking, walking the dog, or mountain biking, she carves out time to paint abstract Northern Michigan-inspired landscapes. She is also a photographer, and is the daughter of a professional photographer who told her to use up as much film as she could.

Recently, Ashlea wrote and illustrated the Up North Alphabet, her first children’s book, which she dedicated to her daughters, Wren and Phoebe. The book celebrates the natural environment across the pinkie finger region of Northern Michigan. It was published in the height of the pandemic in 2020.

Ashlea also works professionally in marketing and communications, and serves as an elected City of Traverse City Commissioner, with an appointment to the Traverse City Arts Commission. She has also served on the boards of the Glen Arbor Art Association, and the Michigan Legacy Art Park. She is involved with the Old Town Playhouse and Parallel 45 theatre.



Three awards will be given: $300 Best of Show award; and two, $100 Merit Awards made possible by the Amy L. Clark-Carels Family Fund.


You may submit up to 2 works for the juror’s consideration

  • You are required to submit an image of the overall work. You also have the option of providing 1 additional, detail image per work submitted.
  • Please provide well-composed, focused images of your work. This is the work people will view online. Present your work as well as you possibly can.
  • Do not photograph 2D work behind glass. If framed, please do not include the 2D artwork’s frame in your exhibition image unless it is part of the composition vs. a finishing detail.

The Swimming exhibition will be installed in the GAAC gallery, and viewable as an on-line gallery on the GAAC website.


  • Work submitted must be one-of-a-kind, innovative, and original in design. Work derivative of other artists or work created in a workshop with the collaboration of an instructor is not accepted.
  • An entry may be comprised of multiple units [e.g. a diptych]; but may not exceed the maximum dimensions or weights described below. If offered for sale, a single entry comprised of multiple units must be sold for one price. The individual units may not be sold separately.
  • Work submitted must have been completed in the last two years [made from 2021 – present]. The recent modification of an older or previously dated artwork DOES NOT make the artwork eligible unless the artist can provide significant documentation of differences between the original and revised versions of the piece.
  • Work must be gallery ready when submitted. Paintings and other wall works should be finished or framed. Please use gallery wire. No saw tooth hanging hardware is allowed. No wet paintings, or work submitted on warped canvases will be allowed.
  • No work will be accepted after the dates and times for delivery listed on the prospectus.
    The artist’s contact email provided on the application must remain active during the submissions and exhibition process. The artist is responsible for checking their email for exhibition acceptance and/or decline, and other information regarding the exhibition.

Artist’s Statement | REQUIRED

Swimming applicants must submit a short [100 words max] statement that provides context for looking at the artwork.


  • The sale price written on the application is the FINAL price if the work is accepted in the exhibition. Exhibitors may not change sale price after the work is accepted for exhibition.
  • The GAAC will retain a 40% commission on work sold during the exhibition. Artists receive 60% of the final selling price. Artists will receive payment following the close of the exhibition.


The GAAC staff and Exhibitions Committee reserve the right to the final selection of work to be shown in the exhibition. Accepted work may not be removed before the close of the exhibition.

More Information

Contact Sarah Bearup-Neal, GAAC Gallery Manager: (231) 334-6112.

Apply Here

The application period has ended.

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