The U.S. Mint Is Looking for Artists to Liven Up Its Coins and Medals


The United States Mint has teamed up with the National Endowment for the Arts to announce a rather unusual open call for artists. The prize isn’t a place in an exhibition or grant, but a contract-based employment opportunity to create designs for U.S. coins and medals. Open to any U.S. citizen working in the arts, a one-year contract will be awarded to up to 20 artists to be included in the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program (AIP), where they will submit designs in response to various commissions. In addition to the commission fees, the artists will receive an additional $5,000 for each of their submissions chosen for production.

In partnering with the NEA, the Mint hopes to reach a broader selection of artists who focus on a unique and powerful use of symbolism.

“I am thrilled that this program will present the creativity and vision of contemporary American artists in both the coins that we use every day, as well as in the medals that will be used to mark occasions and accomplishments of great importance,” NEA senior deputy chairman Joan Shigekawa said.

If patriotic small-scale relief sculpture is something you might like to design, the Mint and the NEA will be holding a webinar from 4-5pm (Eastern Standard Time) on December 11, in which they will outline the submission process. Applications will be accepted until January 10, 2014.

— Meredith Caraher

(Image: A United States Mint artist manually sculpts the 2013 Native American reverse design. She begins the sculpt in plastilene, then casts to a negative plaster and finishes the model up in the positive plaster. Photo courtesy of the United States Mint.)