Open Call

Deadline: August 6


Night Owls


In 2021, The Night Gallery will present Night Owls, an exhibition in two cities: in Chicago, at the Night Gallery, and in Columbus, Indiana, as part of the Midnight Palace installation at Exhibit Columbus: New Middles.

Columbus is a city of night owls: 39 percent of the population works in manufacturing, compared to 9 percent nationwide. Among this group, many second and third-shift workers begin their “days” in the evening and finish work in the morning. Other residents also burn the midnight oil: restaurant workers, truckers, parents of newborns, dedicated stargazers, residents with families overseas. However, many civic and amenity spaces only serve the sunlit-hours. How can we design for the midnight city?

For Night Owls, we are seeking film, video, animation and other works which document and are inspired by the lives of second and third-shift workers and spaces of nighttime, past, present, and future. Projects may, for example, focus on the lives of workers in a particular industry; how families build their lives around multiple shifts; or document cities at night. In a world where the majority of design focuses on the daytime and the lives of 9-5 workers, Night Owls seeks work by architects, designers, filmmakers, and other creatives which focus on the worlds we live and build at night.

Located at the Cummins Sears Building in Columbus, Indiana, Midnight Palace is a temporary installation inspired by the atmospheric qualities of nighttime and designed for the city’s night owls. It features a “wall of light” inspired by the historic light-bulbs from Columbus’ streetscape. Night Owls will be exhibited on a series of screens in the installation, which will host “drive-in” and “walk-by” screenings of different scales throughout Exhibit Columbus, August to November 2021, as well as at The Night Gallery in Chicago.


Selected Works


For selected works, participants are compensated with a $500 honorarium and invited to discuss their work via video call or in person. Screenings will take place at The Midnight Palace in Columbus and at The Night Gallery in Chicago. Event openings will be organized to maintain social distancing through scheduled ticketing, designated viewing spots, and digital engagement strategies.

Submission Requirements


Submissions are due by August 6, 2021. Please send a brief project description with a Vimeo (or link) to info@thenight.gallery. Well-developed project proposals with sample clips are encouraged for consideration. Each project and in situ installation will be developed in collaboration with the participants. Explore past seasons of The Night Gallery for inspiration.