Soo Visual Arts Center, founded in 2001, is a non-profit 501 (c)3 arts organization. Mission: Soo Visual Arts Center is a nonprofit art space that connects our community with fresh, under-represented and provocative art. Vision: Soo Visual Arts Center envisions a dynamic community in which artists and audiences challenge each other in an environment where art is integral to everyday life.

We have exhibited over 2000 under-represented artists since opening our doors in 2001. As a leader in discovering new talent and with a strong focus on emerging artists from the State of Minnesota, SooVAC offers year-round exhibition programming coupled with educational support, artist talks, and workshops. Our curatorial focus promotes contemporary artists whose work challenges and expands conventional notions of aesthetics. Through this approach, we enable artists to explore and grow while fostering an environment that encourages artists to take risks in their artwork and to push themselves in new directions.

Take a look at our past and current shows HERE.

Let There Be Spaces in Your Togetherness

APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 15, 2019  at 11:59 pm.

Mizna and Soo Visual Arts Center (SooVAC) invite early career, US-based artists from the Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) region or of SWANA descent to submit artworks for a juried exhibition titled Let There Be Spaces in Your Togetherness. The exhibition will take place December 7, 2019–January 9, 2020 at SooVAC in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Let There Be Spaces in Your Togetherness is a quote by Khalil Gibran, famed Arab American poet of the early 1900s. While SWANA communities are scattered around the globe due to legacies of colonization and migration, Mizna serves as a critical platform and gathering space for Arab and Muslim creatives. Mizna has a twenty year history of featuring the work of established and emerging visual artists in our lit + art journal, Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America, as well as in exhibitions and public artworks. In this exhibition, we are looking to showcase the perspectives, practices, and artworks of a new generation of US-based SWANA creatives as we look toward another two decades of cultivating rich spaces. Spaces in which, in Gibran’s words, “the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow," spaces in which the diversity and artistry of our community is celebrated and sustained.

Let There Be Spaces in Your Togetherness is juried by Essma Imady, Hend Al Mansour, and Lamia Abukhadra, three Arab artists based in the Twin Cities. The jurors will show works alongside the works of selected artists, anchoring the exhibition. The exhibition will travel to St. Cloud and New York Mills in greater Minnesota as part of a visual art and film tour of Mizna’s work.

We define early career artists as artists with a focused direction or goals who have not been substantially recognized within their field, in the media, with funding support, or through the public at large.


  • Artist must be based in the US.
  • Artist must be early career.
  • Artist must be from the SWANA region or of SWANA descent.

Tour to St. Cloud and NY Mills, MN

Should you be selected for this exhibition, your work may be exhibited in a touring show to greater Minnesota at the Kiehle Gallery at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud and at the New York Mills Cultural Center in New York Mills.

About Mizna

Mizna is a critical platform for contemporary literature, art, film, and cultural programming centering the work of Southwest Asian and North African artists. For twenty years, we have sought to reflect the depth and multiplicity of our community and have been committed to being a space for Arab, Muslim, and other artists from the region to reclaim our narratives and engage audiences in meaningful and artistically excellent art. We publish Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America, produce the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, and offer classes, readings, performances, public art, and community events.

About Soo Visual Arts Center

Soo Visual Arts Center (SooVAC) is a nonprofit art space that connects our community with fresh, under-represented and provocative art. SooVAC envisions a dynamic community in which artists and audiences challenge each other in an environment where art is integral to everyday life.

About Jurors

Essma Imady is an installation and film artist based in the Twin Cities. She grew up in Damascus, Syria, and was dislocated to Minnesota in 2011. Her practice addresses the political aspects of the personal, the formation of identities, and the complicated relationship between vision and knowledge. Her most recent exhibits include the MAEP program at MIA and curating a performance night at the Walker.

Hend al Mansour: At first glance, Hend Al-Mansour’s work appears traditionally Islamic, but sustained engagement reveals subversive messages that critique gender injustice. She is best known for her stylized figures printed within colorful geometric design backgrounds. Inspired by women’s traditional artistic media in the Arab world, her shrine-like installations highlight powerful women in contemporary life and history. 

Lamia Abukhadra is a Palestinian American artist. Her interdisciplinary research based practice challenges harmful dominant narratives which perpetuate the settler colonial imagination as well as acts of violence and ethnic cleansing in Palestine and its diasporic spaces. Lamia is a 2018–2019 Jerome Emerging Printmaking Resident at Highpoint Center for Printmaking and a 2019–2020 Home Workspace Program Fellow at Ashkal Alwan. 

Submission Deadline: Sunday September 15, 2019 before Midnight.

The following dates may be subject to change:  


WORK DROP OFF DATES:  November 29-December 1, 2019

Exhibition Dates:  December 7, 2019

OPENING RECEPTION:  December 7, 2019, 6:00-9:00pm

Exhibition Closes:  January 9, 2020

We are accepting all submissions through Submittable. The application fee is $10 through Submittable. This will go towards shipping artwork back to the artist, and documenting and promoting the exhibition. If you are unable to pay this fee, please email

1. APPLICATION FORM -Fill in all of your contact information on Submittable.

2. WORK SAMPLES-UP TO 5 IMAGES (FOR VIDEO SEE BELOW*) Group exhibitions or collaborative projects are also accepted but the images cannot exceed 5.

 Digital Image Specifications: Images should be in JPEG format no larger than 1000 x 1000 pixels @ 72 dpi. Format each jpeg file name as “Artist’s last name_Artist’s first name_1.jpg,” “Artist’s last name_ Artist’s first name_2.jpg,” etc. Each JPEG may not exceed 1MB and 1000 pixels in any direction. *Video Submissions are also accepted in .mov format, no larger than 200MB and no more than 2 min clips for each video submission label the same as images files.  Work samples cannot exceed 5 but can be a combination of video and image files.

3. IMAGE LIST- Fill out each Image description field with the following information: List the following information for each work (make sure your image number corresponds to the label on your JPEG images):
-Title of work
-Date completed
-Dimensions (H” x W” x D”)

4. ARTIST STATEMENT (250 words)– doc, docx, txt, rtf or pdf format accepted. Label this document: Artist’s last name_Artist’s first name_artiststatement.doc ex. Doe_Jane_Artiststatement.doc. 

5. CV (1 page) – doc, docx, txt, rtf or pdf format accepted. Label this document: Artist’s last name_Artist’s first name_CV.doc ex. Doe_Jane_CV.doc. Please provide a website if you have one. If you are applying as a group or collaborative team include all participating artists' CV in one document.

6. Bio (250 words) – doc, docx, txt, rtf or pdf format accepted. Label this document: Artist’s last name_Artist’s first name_bio.doc ex. Doe_Jane_bio.doc. 

GOOD THINGS TO KNOW  1. Notification will be done by email or phone so please make sure to include both on your application.  2. We do not provide insurance for the artwork. Artists that wish to insure their work must provide their own. We do provide loving care for your work.

The following is submitted Sunday September 15th, 2019 before Midnight.:

___Application Form (Fill Out all of your information on Submittable).

___5 IMAGES OF YOUR ARTWORK-JPEG format (.jpg)

___CV (doc, docx, txt, rtf or pdf format accepted.)

___Bio (doc, docx, txt, rtf or pdf format accepted.).

___IMAGE LIST (Fill out Description Fills for each corresponding image)


Soo Visual Arts Center