Every year, True/False brings a multitude of talented visual artists from near and far to reinvent venues and transform public spaces. What began as a visual backdrop for our fest thirteen years ago is now an integral part of every aspect of what we do. In 2019, we will continue to expand our artistic reach, both in the array of concepts explored and in the variety of artists represented. We encourage all interested artists to learn more about the fest as a whole by exploring our website.

True/False is a project of the Ragtag Film Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization that also operates Ragtag Cinema, a 365-day arthouse theater. The mission of the Ragtag Film Society is to champion independent film to stimulate and enrich the culture of our community.


The overarching mission for the True/False Film Fest speaks to our goals for Art Installations exhibited during the fest: We seek out creative, energetic people and then give them the tools to transform the downtown core of Columbia, both indoors and out … remaking ordinary spaces into magical, temporary spots. The transformative, rambunctious, ecstatic experience of T/F creates a cathartic journey that forces participants to do nothing less than to re-imagine reality.

Additionally, we strive to provide the perfect platform for expanding visual artists’ ability to create site-specific installations in odd and unusual spaces, providing a way for artists to explore beyond the traditional gallery atmosphere. We are excited to work with artists at all stages of their careers, from emerging artists to well-established exhibiting artists.


True/False is looking for dynamic, original large-scale installations. Aesthetically, we encourage artists to use as inspiration the overarching ideas and mission of the festival (broadly, an immersive artistic experience that seeks to transform the everyday) and/or the 2019 theme.

In short, our ideal proposal embodies flexible specificity. This is, we are looking for proposals that have the flexibility to be modified to work in a variety of locations, but are rich in logistical details such as construction plans, aesthetics, intent, installation logistics, budget, and other relevant details and information. We have included an example proposal narrative and proposed budget below; we’re happy to provide additional examples upon request, and are always available to answer questions via email at [email protected].

Due to the nature of our festival, T/F art installations tend to be both temporary (the fest is 4 days; art installations are rarely up for longer than 6 days) and site-specific/site-sympathetic. There are a variety of sites that are potentially available. Some are interior, some exterior; some sites require that the art be suspended, others allow for art to be placed or secured to the ground, and some have the potential to combine both. Most locations have access to power. We have limited options for more traditional “gallery” work. Almost all of the art installations we exhibit are located in spaces that large groups of people move through or spend time in; this knowledge should inform your construction plans and design. Some spaces that we use have strict limitations on whether or how the space can be adjusted (including but not limited to: anchoring/hanging options, lighting, access to power, etc). Few venues have the capacity to completely block light (for video projections), and no venues have the capacity to be quiet or silent.

To view past work created for T/F, please see our Instagram feed (@truefalseart), which showcases a variety of pieces both in progress and installed. If you have questions about specific past pieces, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

Please note that all of the spaces we inhabit are either public spaces or are privately owned by organizations or individuals other than the Fest, and in some situations this may require additional information, permissions, or considerations. Once your proposal is accepted, we will work with you to determine (and prepare) any additional information, permissions, or considerations needed to install your piece.

Feel free to submit multiple proposals.

Collaborative proposals are permitted and encouraged.

We will accept proposals from anywhere in the world.

We have provided a Sample Narrative (actual proposal from TF 2018; shared with permission from the artist) and a Sample Budget (totally made up) to assist you in the creation of those documents.

2019 THEME

Each year, True/False adopts a visual theme, and in 2019 it is Stranger↔Host.

Both “stranger” and “host” contain contradictions — “stranger” brings up menacing images as well as the exciting, the new, an adventure; while “host” invokes welcoming, open arms, but also parasites and invading armies. We are interested in provoking artists to explore the tensions inherent within the phrase “stranger↔host.” Clearly, our binary understanding of this oppositional pair – the outsider and the insider – is fast evolving into a multi-directional relationship.

The idea of unbidden guests feels particularly rich in the nonfiction world, in which some filmmakers embed themselves in strangers’ lives in order to reveal messy truths, while others dredge up truths from within.

Visually, we imagine explorations of evocative relationships ranging from the human microbiome to the extraterrestrial outer limits. We encourage artwork that plays in the no-man’s-land between borders (like the slash in T/F) – liminal spaces where our assumptions can be upended.

“It’s not an either/or — are these things good or bad — it’s a lot more complicated than that.” (virologist about retroviruses)

We ask visual artists to consider the themes we’ve explored both above and in the prompts listed below in crafting their proposals.


  1. Sojourners ↔ Interlopers & Visitors ↔ Invaders
  2. Host → hospitality & Host → hostile
  3. Palimpsests (ghost is a remnant presence)
  4. Host/guest rituals across cultures. For example, Xenia: the ancient Greek concept of hospitality, the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home
  5. Spores/Meteors – The extraterrestrial origins of life
  6. Scion/Rootstock – on hybridization of plants
  7. Membranes/Borders – microbiology and metaphor
  8. Viruses/Bacteria/Parasites/Symbiotes/Microbiome/Virome
  9. Hybrids/Mutations/Variations/Erratics/Vagrants/Accidentals
  10. Invasive species (eg, Salvinia molesta, kudzu, nutria, stink bugs, cane toads, European starling [Sturnus Vulgaris], eucalyptus)
  11. Additional words and ideas include: transient, pioneer, wanderer, herald, transplant, pathfinder, drifter, vagabond, outsider, trespasser, gatecrasher, infiltrator, endogamic


For T/F 2019, we will have one Open Call period.

Open Call Period will open in late April.

Proposals are due September 30, 2018.

Applicants will be notified via email by early November. 

We anticipate that most artists will begin work almost immediately upon being accepted to the 2019 festival.

The Fest will be held February 28 through March 3, 2019. All accepted work will need to be complete (ready for install) by Friday, February 22, 2019; installation will occur no later than February 28, 2019 (install dates will depend on location) and tear down will occur on March 4, 2019. We expect that all artists will install and take down their work, though we can provide assistance if needed.

All artists whose work is accepted will receive an Artist Pass to the Fest, which includes admission to films, events, and other benefits.

If you have any questions at any point during the application process, please contact the T/F Art Team at [email protected].