The Mattress Factory was founded in 1977 by artists who were interested in producing site-specific installations created by artists working in residence. Since then, the museum has commissioned and presented new installation and performance works by more than 650 artists. The museum supports established and emerging artists through a program that provides guidance, leadership, resources and opportunities to create artwork that is unconventional, challenging and thought-provoking. The museum’s flexibility and inventiveness allow artists to respond to developments in technology, explore audience interaction and challenge traditional artistic ideals and practice.

In a given year the museum exhibits work by eight to twelve artists, and exhibitions are open to the public for an average of 10 months. The average residency time period is three to four weeks on-site, but can be longer or shorter depending upon the needs of the project. The museum enhances its exhibitions with public and educational programming inspired by and developed with the artists’ input.

The Mattress Factory’s exhibitions staff works closely with individual artists to plan each project, helping to cultivate ideas, manage options, find resources and solve technical challenges. The Mattress Factory provides both skilled (carpenters, metal fabricators) and unskilled labor as needed. Museum staff procures any and all items the artist needs (bags of human hair, miles of barbed wire, tons of paraffin wax, insect larvae) and goes to great lengths to accommodate special requests, such as cooling a space to below freezing or coating a gallery floor with molten candy.

 The following support is provided to all artists in residence:

▪ All project material costs

▪ Skilled and unskilled labor during installation

▪ Staff project support

▪ Marketing and publicity

▪ Photo documentation

▪ Transportation to and from Pittsburgh

▪ On-site housing

▪ Per diem

▪ Honorarium



The Mattress Factory is currently accepting submissions to be considered for inclusion in the upcoming 2020 exhibition programmatic year. Submissions will be accepted now through July 1, 2019.  Artists will be notified in late July 2019. The residency periods are April/May 2020 and August/September 2020. National and international artists are equally welcome to submit. 

To be considered, please complete the attached form. Include a brief cover letter, your exhibition history, a selection of your best images of past work and a list identifying them. You may also provide video clips, a professional website link, Vimeo/YouTube links, and a few publicity items. If attaching video samples directly, keep files to an upload size of 50 MB or less. Only submit examples of recent work that focus on installation art. We want to get a sense of your body of work, background and current art practice.

Do not send images, video or audio files to this email address. A list of answers to frequently asked questions is provided below. No calls please.

NOTE: There will be no one available to answer questions after 5pm eastern time on July 1. Please complete the form to the best of your ability before the midnight deadline. The Mattress Factory can always contact you afterwards if there is a problem with a submission.

Thank You!  

Mattress Factory


Answers to frequently asked questions.

- The Mattress Factory is using the service of to manage our form. If you are having technical problems, such as with uploading files, try Submittable’s online help system:

- We are only accepting submissions via our Submittable form. This is necessary to manage the volume of submissions that we receive and we will not be responding to mailed or emailed materials for this call. Our form will automatically go offline at midnight EST on Monday, July 1, 2019.

- The Mattress Factory is dedicated to installation art. We look for artists with an appropriate body of work and experience to create a new installation in one of our galleries. We are open to a wide range of media including any installation-based approaches to sculpture, architecture, video, performance, technology, painting and drawing.

- An artist whose practice is strictly two-dimensional is typically not considered a good match for our programming.

- The Mattress Factory does not consider specific proposals. We feel that all decisions regarding projects should be made after an artist is invited.

- Collaborative artists should submit examples of past work that were completed as a team. We cannot evaluate the merits of potential collaborators who have not worked together previously.

- Concentrate on providing clear and concise images of your work. Images are the primary way we review materials and are therefore required. All other materials are considered as supplemental. Image file sizes need not be larger than 10 in. x 12 in. at 150 dpi.

- We recommend numbering all image files with a zero before any single digits, such as “01” “02” “03” etc. Otherwise the system will order a file numbered "10" before one numbered “2"

- The identification list is for providing information specific to each image and media file you upload. Basic information such as title, year, media and a descriptive sentence are helpful.

- Professional websites and videos are reviewed at our discretion. They are supplemental and are not a good substitute for uploading images.

- A Vimeo link is the most convenient way for us to review video files. You may also upload files that are less than 50 MB. Provide only a brief selection as an introduction to your work.

- A brief cover letter of less than 250 words is appropriate. Letters may be written to the attention of “Mattress Factory.”

Mattress Factory