<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.

2020 Winners

Kahlil Robert Irving
Tim Portlock
Rachel Youn

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.

2020 Jurors

José Carlos Diaz is the Chief Curator at The Andy Warhol Museum and was a 2018 fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL). At The Warhol he has curated Farhad Moshiri: Go West (2018) and is currently working on the upcoming exhibitions Andy Warhol: Revelation and Fantasy America, featuring Kambui Olujimi, Pacifico Silano, and Chloe Wise, among others. Prior to this Diaz was the Curator of Exhibitions at the Bass Museum in Miami Beach where he curated artist commissions by Athi-Patra Ruga, Sylvie Fleury, the exhibition GOLD (2015), and organized One Way: Peter Marino (2015). Prior to joining the Bass Museum he worked at Tate Liverpool and at the Liverpool Biennial. Diaz received a MA in Cultural History from the University of Liverpool, and a BA in Art History from San Francisco State University. In 2003 Diaz tenured as a curatorial intern at The Rubell Family Collection and launched a nomadic curatorial project called Worm-Hole Laboratory.

Christopher Y. Lew is the Nancy and Fred Poses Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Lew oversees the emerging artist program at the Museum and was co-curator of the 2017 Whitney Biennial. He most recently organized Kevin Beasley: A view of a landscape (2018) and mounted the first US solo exhibitions for Sophia Al-Maria, Rachel Rose, and Jared Madere. He also organized Lucy Dodd’s large-scale installation that was part of the exhibition Open Plan (2016) and was co-curator of the group show Mirror Cells (2016). Prior to joining the Whitney, he was Assistant Curator at MoMA PS1 and organized numerous exhibitions there. Lew has contributed to several publications including Art AsiaPacific, Art Journal, BOMB, Huffington Post, and Mousse.

Amanda Ross-Ho has exhibited widely in museums and galleries worldwide, including solo exhibitions at Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn (2017); Vleeshal, Middleburg, Netherlands (2016); Praz-Delavallade, Paris (2015); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2014); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2012). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2016), Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach (2011); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Whitney Biennial, New York (2008); among many other institutions. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Orange County Museum of Art.

2022 Application

Application for the 2022 Great Rivers Biennial opens in Spring 2021. Questions? Email grb@camstl.org.

CAM Floor Plan
MAPS Application Workshop Presentation


  • 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. Visits must be in-person, not by phone or video.
  • Accepted media: Drawing, film and video, installation, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture.

Past Recipients