Breaking the Barrier: Interactive Art in the 21st Century

tactile-art-showFor Spring 2017, Flagstaff Arts Council is seeking artworks for entry in Breaking the Barrier, an exhibition which will present work in any media that asks the viewer to interact using two or more of their five senses (sight, touch, hearing, smell, or taste).

Exhibition Theme

Interactive art is a widely expanding and increasingly exciting field. It comprises sensual experiences that range from tactile sculpture to virtual reality headsets and more. Artists working in this field create works that engage the viewers’ senses beyond looking, asking them to touch, smell, taste, move with, and/or listen to an artwork in unexpected ways. Breaking the Barrier will present unique opportunities for viewers to interact with art in ways that are seldom permitted in a traditional gallery setting.

Eligibility and Criteria

The Arts Council is seeking artworks that are interactive in nature and require some form of viewer participation.  Submitted works can take the form of, and are not limited to, installation, performance, sculpture, culinary, video, audio, or virtual art.  Entries for the exhibition must be completed online (click the bottom of this page to access the application).

Art works will be considered for acceptance into the exhibition by a group of jurors according to two primary criteria: 1) excellence in artistic quality, and 2) suitability and unification with the stated exhibition theme.

Given the nature of this theme, it is acceptable for artists to submit works of art for consideration that may not yet be completed or are in development (only if necessary due to the nature of the proposed art work). Images and description submitted with the artist’s application should give the juror’s as clear a picture as possible to the final product. The jurors will select work that they are confident will match the criteria.


A juror’s grand prize will be awarded for Best in Show, which includes a cash award of $1,000. Additionally, each juror will select one art work each for a Juror’s Prize with a cash award of $250 per artist. Prize winners will be announced at the opening reception for the exhibition on April 8, 2017.


Russell Pryba is a Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Northern Arizona University. He received a PhD. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His main areas of teaching and research are the Philosophy of Art and American Pragmatism. He has published on John Dewey’s aesthetic theory, Food Aesthetics, Neuroaesthetics, and the ontology of art. He is the Associate Editor of The Journal of Somaesthetics which aims to promote interdisciplinary work that explores the body as the site of both aesthetic experience and artistic creation.

Travis Iurato is the Artistic Director for the Flagstaff Arts Council. Iurato hails from New York City, where he worked on art exhibitions at the BRIC Rotunda Gallery and the Katherina Rich Perlow Gallery. He graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City, and also attended the University of Barcelona School of Art in Spain. Iurato relocated to Rimrock, Arizona, where he co-founded New Age Drinks Contemporary Art. There, he curated a handful of contemporary art projects before coming to the Flagstaff Arts Council as the Artistic Director, curating exhibitions at the Coconino Center for the Arts. He now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.

About the Exhibition Venue

The Coconino Center for the Arts (CCA) is located at 2300 North Fort Valley Road (Highway 180). CCA is on the way to several Arizona attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Museum of Northern Arizona, and the Arizona Snowbowl. The facility includes a 4,000 square foot art Main Gallery and an indoor amphitheater that seats 200. Breaking the Barrier will be in the Main Gallery.

Guidelines & Information

  • Applicants may submit a maximum of three works of art for consideration by the jury.
  • Applicants may submit up to 2 images per work of art submitted (one full, one detail). Digital images must be high quality, high resolution (minimum size: approx. 5” x 7”, saved at 300 dpi) and in .jpg format, or if appropriate, provide a link to video or description of the work.
  • Artwork must be ready for display, with specific instruction for any non-standard display methods.
  • Artwork that has been displayed at the Coconino Center for the Arts or in other venues in Coconino County in the past will not be considered.
  • Artists, if they have art accepted into the show, are responsible for delivery of art to and from CCA, and for insurance of art work in transit.
  • Art work accepted will be considered ‘on loan’ during the exhibition, covered by Arts Council insurance, subject to Arts Council policies, and available for sale at the artists’ request on a consignment basis (70% to artist, 30% to venue).


Deadline to apply: January 17, 2017
Notification to applicants: February 7, 2017
Art work drop off: March 27-28, 2017
Opening Reception: April 8, 2017
Exhibition Open: April 11 – May 27, 2017
Art work pick up: May 30-31, 2017


If you have questions about Breaking the Barrier, please contact Artistic Director Travis Iurato by email.


There is an application fee to submit up to two works of art for consideration in Breaking the Barrier. The fee is $25 for artists and $20 artists who are members of the Flagstaff Arts Council. Submission fees are used to fund the Best in Show prizes plus costs associated with the promotion of the exhibition.

Interested in becoming a member? Members receive discounts on every artist opportunity at the Coconino Center for the Arts. Become a member today.

Click on the button below to access the Breaking the Barrier application form.