Submission Information

About the Exhibition

UrbArts presents Balm: When Art Heals, a curated visual arts exhibition that focuses on the urgency of healing and self-care amid the struggle for Black life. This is a continuation of the current theme of due process denied and the work to transform how law enforcement engages the Black community. We ask artists to share works that invite healing and renewal in this first show of 2021.  Artwork in all media, styles, subjects, and techniques are welcome. It is open to artists of all ages in the St. Louis, MO region.  Deadline for entries is March 5, 2021

Meet the Curator

Billy Williams is a midcareer visual artist whose love for art has grown from elementary school sketches to acrylic and watercolor paintings. Music, specifically hip hop, inspires Williams. The smooth, soulful sounds create an energy that he transfers to his art. The moods of the music are mirrored in the expressions of his characters, from love to hate, to hurt and happiness.

At Kansas State University, Williams majored in graphic design. There he took his first watercolor class and became hooked on that medium. Many of his works include an array of faces, some are silhouettes, others have colorful detail, and often many faces are morphed together to create the appearance of one. For a soft appeal, Williams prefers watercolors to other mediums because it gives the warm tones often seen in his When it is not watercolors, it’s acrylics, which he uses for pieces with brighter, sharper colors.

Williams is a curator for the UrbArts Gallery in Old North St. Louis and continues to freelance recently creating murals for several projects. He continues to exhibit his work at galleries or online. He is a married father of two currently residing in South St. Louis.

Eligibility & Curation Process

Open to artists 13 years of age and older living in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area.

UrbArts relies on our curators for planning exhibitions and artwork selection. While the submission process is open to all, we hold space for artists of color, particularly Black artists. Given that, who the artist is does not factor into the selection of work. How the work responds to the theme and space availability are top considerations.

All works must include a title, year, medium, dimensions, display preference, artist’s bio and brief statement along with an image of the work for consideration.

All art must be ready to install and be delivered to our gallery by Feb 6th.

We do not censor artwork. Given the nature of this exhibit, we will be mindful of any work that contains any private information of the subject. We strive to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct but will not dox any perpetrators of violence against citizens. Additionally, works that dehumanize or violate individuals are discouraged. We do not have to use the master’s tools to build a space for creative expression. Still, all Black aesthetics are beautiful and worth experiencing by as abroad an audience as possible.

All exhibits are curated to give platform and opportunity to the marginalized.
 All artwork will be reviewed as they are submitted. Early entries will affect placement in the exhibition.


For initiatives like this, we have to supply artists with research on the subject matter. One of the key pieces of research is a list of all officer killings or citizens who died while in police custody in the Greater St. Louis Region. Shout out to Wikipedia for providing the platform for the list of officer killings and the tireless researcher(s) who compiled the data. Special thanks to Valshe’  for gathering the data for our list. As it stands, we have 10 years of local data that lists the date of death, victim’s name, and news story that describes the circumstances for their death. What we don’t have is the name of the officer responsible for killing the citizen. We’ll update the list as that data becomes available. Our hope is that artists drawn to this exhibit will review the list and decide which story they will depict in their work.  Click here to see the list of reported police killings. 


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