<em>Rachel Youn: Gather</em>, Great Rivers Biennial 2020, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, September 11, 2020—February 21, 2021. Photo: Will Driscoll.
Rachel Youn: Gather, Great Rivers Biennial 2020, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, September 11, 2020—February 21, 2021. Photo: Will Driscoll.

Great Rivers Biennial

Established in 2003, the Great Rivers Biennial is a collaborative exhibition program presented by CAM and the Gateway Foundation. This major initiative identifies talented emerging and mid-career artists working in the greater St. Louis metro area, provides them with financial assistance, and elevates their profile across the Midwest and national arts communities. Every two years, three winners are selected to receive $20,000 and are featured in the Great Rivers Biennial exhibition at CAM in the following summer.

Selection Process

A panel of distinguished jurors reviews all submissions that meet the eligibility requirements. The jurors choose ten semi-finalists and visit these artists’ studios. Afterward, the jurors select up to three winners. CAM curatorial staff may also attend the studio visits; however the selection process is made exclusively by the three jurors.

2022 Jurors

Carmen Hermo is the Associate Curator for the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. She curated Roots of The Dinner Party: History in the Making (2017), Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Are We Reading Closely? (2020), Baseera Khan: I Am an Archive (2021, forthcoming), formed part of the Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall (2019) curatorial collective, and co-organized Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection (2018) and the Brooklyn presentation of Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 (2018) among other exhibitions. Previously, Carmen was Assistant Curator for Collections at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Carmen received her BA in Art History and English from the University of Richmond and her MA in Art History from Hunter College.

Jen Liu is a New York-based visual artist working in video, painting, dance performance, and biomaterial, on topics of national identity, economy, and the re-motivating of archival artifacts. She is a 2019 recipient of the Creative Capital Grant, a 2018 recipient of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Art + Technology Lab grant, and was a 2017 recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Film/Video and New York State Council on the Arts/New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Digital/Electronic Art. She has presented work at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Kitchen, and the New Museum, New York; the Royal Academy and Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Kunsthaus Zurich; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; the Aspen Museum of Art; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; and  Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain, as well as the 2014 Shanghai Biennale and the 2019 Singapore Biennial. She has received multiple grants and residencies, including Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany; Sommerakademie, Bern, Switzerland; De Ateliers, Amsterdam; and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Pioneer Works, and International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York.

Hamza Walker is Director of LAXART, a nonprofit art space in Los Angeles, and adjunct professor at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining LAXART in 2016, he was director of education and associate curator at the Renaissance Society, a non-collecting contemporary art museum in Chicago. Recent exhibitions at LAXART include Kandis Williams and Cassandra Press’ The Absolute Right to Exclude (2021) and Postcommodity: Some Reach While Others Clap (2020). Notable shows at the Renaissance Society include Suicide Narcissus (2013), Several Silences (2009), Black Is, Black Ain’t (2008), and New Video, New Europe (2004). Walker also co-curated (with Aram Moshayedi) the 2016 iteration of Made in LA. He has won the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement (2004) and the Ordway Prize (2010) for impact on the field of contemporary art. Walker was a juror for the 2004 Great Rivers Biennial and we are delighted to have him join us again for this anniversary edition.

2022 Application

The 2022 Great Rivers Biennial application closed on August 18, 2021.

Application Workshops
In collaboration with Midwest Artist Project Services, CAM will host two free application workshops:
Thursday, July 22, 2021, 6:00 pm, at CAM
Saturday, July 24, 2021, 11:00 am, on Zoom.
Registration is required.

CAM Floor Plan
MAPS Application Workshop presentation


  • Emerging and mid-career artists are invited to submit work from any of the following categories: drawing, film and video, installation, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.
  • Artist must currently reside in the metro area, including St. Louis City and the counties of St. Louis, Jefferson, and St. Charles in Missouri or St. Clair and Madison in Illinois.
  • Artist must have lived in the St. Louis metro area (six counties) for at least one year prior to the application deadline.
  • Artist must continue to reside in the St. Louis metro area during the designated planning, production, and exhibition period.
  • Artist may not have previously received a Great Rivers Biennial award.
  • Artist may be a degree-seeking graduate student. All other students are ineligible.
  • Artist must be available for studio visits with the jurors. Alternative spaces may be arranged if artist does not have a studio. The jurors will choose ten semi-finalists who will receive these visits. At this time, we plan for visits to take place in person with jurors traveling to St. Louis to meet with semi-finalists.

Questions? Email grb@camstl.org

2021–22 Timeline

  • Application opens: June 30, 2021
  • Application deadline: August 18, 2021, 11:59 pm
  • Ten semifinalists chosen: September 24, 2021
  • Studio visits: will take place over two days, October 14–15, 2021
  • Winners announced: October 29, 2021
  • Exhibition on view: September 9, 2022–February 12, 2023

Once the jurors have selected the artists, all exhibition communications, logistics, follow-up studio visits, and installation of artwork are organized by CAM’s curatorial department. CAM Chief Curator Wassan Al-Khudhairi and Assistant Curator Misa Jeffereis will act as the organizing curators, and artists will work closely with them toward the successful implementation of their exhibitions.

Past Recipients