All Together Now: Sound x Design

Download a PDF of the Exhibition Call for All Together Now

Call for Exhibition Submissions

Submission deadline extended to May 1, 2020!

Sound is what happens when air is pushed. Design is what happens when space is manipulated. Designers and musicians are complementary. Each rely on rhythm, melody, form, harmony, texture, and dynamics to communicate ideas and emotions beyond words. Is a book or publication not as tied to time and sequence as a symphony in three movements? Does a duet between voice and piano not contain two distinct colors that, when combined, create an entirely new hue? The parallels between design and music are innumerable, though the fields rarely seem to overlap.

In concert with the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Music, the Design Museum of Chicago is celebrating the connections between music and design and accepting proposals for its 2020 exhibition, All Together Now.


Please submit work that:

  • incorporates or is inspired by music (in an abstract way),
  • allows for the performance of music in and of itself (like the design of an instrument)
  • is used to sell or brand music (like a logo or packaging.)

Objects in the exhibition can be new or existing work. Work may come from a wide variety of practices, including but not limited to: fashion, graphic, instrument, sound, and industrial design. Submissions may be produced pieces as well as models, experiments, or other process work. Size restrictions are 3 x 3 x 16 ft (l x w x h) for three-dimensional pieces and 3 x 3 ft for two-dimensional pieces.
If proposing an object, proposal should be submitted as a PDF, be no more than 3 pages, and include:

  • images and dimensions of the work,
  • a brief description of the work, including the year produced,
  • a statement relating the work to music and the concepts behind All Together Now.

If proposing something other than an object, the written portion of the proposal should be submitted as a PDF no more than 2 pages and the media portion should be submitted as a URL, .mp4, .avi, .mov (video) or .mp3, .wav (audio) file. The submission should include:

  • Media file playable on non-specialty equipment,
  • Technical requirements for exhibiting the work,
  • Brief description of the work, including the year produced,
  • A statement relating the work to music and the concepts behind All Together Now.

Please submit proposals to Email subject should be Exhibition_name of work. Please note, this is the name of the piece, NOT the submitter’s name.


For all submissions, please include 2–3 sentences describing how your work could be represented in a digital exhibition. We are currently preparing for an in-person gallery exhibition, but would like to prepare for a variety of scenarios for the fall.


Do not include your name or any identifying information on your submissions, either in the pages of the PDFs or in file names. Work will be selected by a blind jury, meaning the judges will not know who the artists applying are.


Submissions that do not follow the above specifications will not be considered.


Proposals are due by the end of the day on Friday, May 1, 2020.