Critical Read publishes Raft Magazine as well as Critical Read Artwork Biography e-books.

Our mission is threefold: to re-imagine critical writing about the arts; to make American art and art history more accessible and discoverable; and to help artists build sustainable careers. 

Before you pitch us, please take the time to read the work on our site: https://www.raft.is/. 

We accept personal essays and micro-flash art appreciations year-round. Artists, we're interested in promoting your crowdfunding campaigns. 

We read pitches for Artwork Biographies from the beginning of September until the end of the year. Please allow up to six months for response. You can see the Critical Read artwork biographies here: https://www.raft.is/s/e-books 

We pay our writers. Rates vary by assignment. We will only consider previously unpublished work. 



Life Raft flash essays are art appreciations in 300 words or fewer. We started this project during the pandemic and under the title, Art Is Essential. 

Please note: We receive numerous essays covering work by Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Walt Whitman. If you submit an essay about one of these artists, it is unlikely that we will be able to use it. We would love to read your appreciations of works made by other artists. 

Are you an artist or performing arts group with a project to fund? Tell us about it. We select projects every month and share them with our readers. 

Critical Reads are artwork biographies. They combine research, reporting and analysis and use a specific work of art as a lens to tell a broader story about art history, culture, and society. Artwork biographies are generally assigned to experienced arts reporters. They are assigned at approximately 5,000 words. Approvals for art should be considered before pitching. 

Please familiarize yourself with the series before pitching: https://www.raft.is/s/e-books 


For our new series, Open Canon, we're looking for stories of underappreciated American artists. 

We are particularly interested in those writers, artists, and performers whose work has been unfairly overlooked or forgotten because of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. 

We want short, informative profiles of these American artists whose work hasn't historically been considered canonical but maybe should be. What was their most important contribution to American art history? Was it a particular way of working, an idea, a style? 

Please note: This is not the space for contemporary artists. Those interested in pitching stories about contemporary artists should look at our Pitch a Reported Story form. 

Critical Read