Pop Smoke Submissions

Pop Smoke: A Veteran Art Exhibition

Curated By Amber Zora

Submissions Are Closed. Selections Announced June 20.

This is a call to artists who have formerly served in the United States armed forces, currently living in Southern California:

Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA) and The Veterans Art Project, with support from Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission, are seeking artists to exhibit their work in Pop Smoke. The basis for Pop Smoke is to have a playful and scrutinized discussion about the American Dream and veteran art. This exhibition is a nod to early veteran pop artists and asks how we, as artists who are also veterans, explore art making practices in ways that  may be playful, humorous, lighthearted, or ironic, considering that artistic expression need not always be serious, severe, or earnest.

The exhibition's title is a military slang term referring to throwing smoke grenades as a means of cover or escape during battle.

Artists are invited to submit up to 10 (ten) artworks that fulfil the following criteria. This exhibition seeks artwork that

  • celebrates commonplace objects and popular American culture,
  • expresses a tongue-in-cheek look at daily life. Give us your irony, your gaudy, your kitsch,
  • utilizes bright colors and basic shapes, 
  • use pop art modes in the creation of the work, like screen printing and other commercial image making processes of today or yesteryear, and/or
  • uses comic book storyboards and storytelling techniques.

Artworks can be representational or abstract, and may be created in any media.

Contact veterans@oma-online.org with questions about this artwork submission opportunity.


Submissions will be accepted exclusively through the Virtual Submission Form.


There is no fee to submit for this opportunity.


U.S. military veterans located in San Diego and Southern California.


  • All submissions must be original works of art. No giclees or other reproductions, with exception of limited edition prints and/or photography
  • Artwork may be in any media, technique, or style 
  • Artists are encouraged to submit a variety of sizes
  • Size: Wall mounted two- and three-dimensional work, external dimensions no larger than 120” in any direction. Maximum weight: 200 pounds
  • Frames must be simple and black or neutral; mats white or off-white
  • Edges of unframed two-dimensional artwork must be finished or gallery wrapped
  • Hardware: Artwork must be installation-ready upon delivery. 2-dimensional works must have D-Rings installed on the back at precisely equal distances from the top (recommended ⅓ from the top)
  • Please remove wires
  • Digital artwork: For review purposes, please submit a link to a video service such as YouTube or Vimeo. If accepted, files must be provided as either .mov or .mp4


  • Monday, April 25, 2022 Early deadline for promotional image consideration
  • Monday, May 23, 2022, 11:59pm PST Deadline to enter
  • On or before Monday, June 20, 2022 Notifications of selected works
  • Friday and Saturday, August 5 and 6, 12:00-2:00pm artwork drop off of selected works to OMA
    • Selected artwork may be shipped to arrive at OMA before Saturday, August 6, 2022
    • Please alert Katie Dolgov at katie@oma-online.org if artwork will be shipped
    • A prepaid return shipping label must be included in the package. Return shipping will take place within two weeks of the close of the exhibition.
  • Saturday, October 1, 2022, 5:00-7:00pm Celebration
  • August 13, 2022–January 15, 2023 (close date tentative) Exhibition open to the public
  • Wednesday and Thursday, January 18 and 19, 2023, 12:00-2:00pm (tentative) Artwork pick up from OMA


Artwork is not required to be available for sale.

All sales will be conducted privately between the artist or their representative and the interested party. Prospective buyers may leave their name and contact information with OMA, and OMA will provide this information to the artist or their representative. OMA will not provide price information for any artwork. Sold artwork must remain with the exhibition through the run of the show. A donation to OMA of 20% of the sale proceeds to OMA from the artist or their representative is typical.


By submitting images, the entrant warrants that they created each of the artworks submitted and that they possess all legal rights to them. The entrant agrees that all submitted images selected by the curator may be used for marketing and promotional purposes related to the exhibition. By providing the images and other information through this entry, the entrant gives permission for OMA to use images of accepted artwork for promotion, reference, printed materials, and online postings related to this exhibition as well as in future advertising. All images used by OMA will be credited to the artist. Copyright and all other rights remain that of the artist.

Our Partners

The Veterans Art Project

The Veterans Art Project (VETART) is a community-based arts organization serving Veterans, Active Duty, Spouses, dependents, their caregivers, and the community through process-driven, Deep Arts Engagement, D.A.E.(c) and Art Therapy. D.A.E.(c) with Art Therapy options provides a process-intensive arts encounter proven to help Veterans and Active Duty (some with post-traumatic stress, TBI, and MST) find their voice and work through the life-changing process of transitioning from military to civilian life.

Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission

Proposition 63, approved by California voters in 2004, created the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to drive transformational change across the state’s mental health system.

The Commission oversees the implementation of the far-reaching initiative, which imposed a 1 percent income tax on wealthy residents to pay for mental health services and established a framework for continuous improvement of mental healthcare in the state.

Partnering with public and private mental health agencies at all levels, the Commission works to ensure that people get the care they need in a timely, comprehensive, effective, and culturally competent manner. In everything, it vigorously promotes community collaboration.

About the Curator

Amber Zora is an interdisciplinary artist and curator. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography + Integrated Media from Ohio University. Zora helped build the Veteran Residency Program at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA that continues to this day. She is a member of the emerging Veteran Art Movement, and in 2018 was a NEH fellow for the Veteran Art Summit and Triennial in Chicago. During that time, she curated Open/Closed, a veteran art exhibition, at the National Veteran Art Museum. 

Zora has worked with a number of institutions to promote veteran art through planning, programming and creating space for discussion. She was enlisted in the US Army for eight years and deployed to Qayyarah West, Iraq as an ammunition specialist from 2006-2007 with the 592nd Ordnance Company.

About Oceanside Museum of Art

Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA) is a non-profit organization that began providing exhibitions and public programs in 1995 as part of their mission to bring people together to explore the art and stories of Southern California artists. OMA’s exhibition program is dynamic and robust, surprising visitors with a fresh and exciting visual experience nearly every visit. In addition to these boundary-pushing contemporary art exhibitions, OMA’s programming includes youth education programs, adult art classes, concerts, films, and creative community parties and events that appeal to locals and tourists alike. The OMA experience stimulates imagination, presents new ideas, and challenges the familiar in a welcoming environment for those new to art, longtime museum-goers, artists, art students, or simply the curious.

Visit us at 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054

Or call (760) 435-3721

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