The Gallery Upstairs: established in 2011

{ art openings, performances, workshops, and more }

The Gallery Upstairs at the Institute Library has been the site of numerous exhibits and projects organized by critic and curator Stephen Kobasa. Before stepping down, Stephen curated and organized the exhibitions or he would invite local artists and curators to do the same. Past contributors have included Noé Jimenez, Joy Pepe, and Suzan Shutan, among others. In Spring 2016, artist and curator Martha Willette Lewis became curator-in-residence, with a special interest in presenting visual work that relates to words, literature, writing, books, archives or collections.

If you are interested in submitting work for review, please read over the following guidelines and to make sure you are a good fit.

Fact sheet:

The Upstairs Gallery at the Institute Library is a not-for-profit exhibition space for visual art. We strongly lean to but are not limited by presenting works with strong connections to words, language, literature, libraries, and collections. We offer 4 to 6 exhibits a year, some organized by the Curator in Residence, some organized by outside artists and curators.

There is no cost to apply or to exhibit—however, we take a  30% commission on exhibition sales to support the operations of the Gallery Upstairs and the Institute Library.

We welcome and review submissions and proposals on an on-going basis, please follow the instructions exactly.

The Curator in Residence, Martha Willette Lewis, will periodically review portfolios by artists for possible inclusion in thematic group exhibitions. Any questions should be submitted by email to the Curator, please do not call the library with inquiries. We appreciate your patience!

Submit your work:

Please send an email to with ‘portfolio’  in the subject line and include via attachment one pdf* with:

• Your contact information
• Website or web link to your work
• A short bio
• A short statement
• Up to five relevant work  images

*All materials must be put onto ONE SINGLE pdf in order to be reviewed.

Propose a show:

Please send an emailto with ‘exhibition proposal’ in the subject line and include via attachment one  pdf* with:

• Your contact information
• The curator’s name
• The show’s title
• A short statement about the show
• The names and websites or images of work from artists you wish to include
(This can be provisional)
• A sketch if needed/desired
• Any other programming – exhibitions, panel talks, educational projects or events – being considered
• A simple expense budget – how much will your project cost?

*All materials must be put onto ONE SINGLE pdf in order to be reviewed.

Thank you for your interest in The Upstairs Gallery at the Institute Library !