US Coins

National Endowment for the Arts joins with U.S. Mint

An invitation for outside artists to participate in the U.S. Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program designing U.S. coins and medals was issued jointly Nov. 6 by the Mint and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The initial deadline for submissions is Jan. 10.

The NEA and Mint will present a webinar, or online seminar, for prospective applicants on Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time at

The webinar will review program elements and how to apply to the program. Free registration will be available at at the beginning of December.

Established in 2003, the AIP provides commissions to private artists to augment the design contributions from the Mint’s own engraving staff.

The U.S. Mint has partnered with the NEA to manage a new application and review process that is open to all U.S. citizens who are established in the fields of professional art or illustration.

“By partnering with the NEA, the Artistic Infusion Program will attract an even wider range of new and diverse artists to contribute to the design of America’s coins and medals,” U.S. Mint Deputy Director Richard A. Peterson said.

The Mint expects to select up to 20 artists to participate in the AIP. Each of those artists will be awarded a contract for a one-year base period, with options to extend a contract up to five additional years.

According to U.S. Mint officials, contracted AIP artists will be invited to submit designs for coins or medals in response to specific commissions from the Mint.

Selected artists will be paid a fee for each commission as well as an additional $5,000 for each design ultimately selected for a coin or medal.

The Mint notes that past AIP artists have created designs for high-profile coins such as those released through the 50 State Quarters Program, America the Beautiful Quarters Program, American Eagle platinum coins, Presidential dollars and First Spouse gold $10 coins.

New application process

Under provisions of the new selection process, the NEA will convene a review panel to examine all applications and recommend artists to submit demonstration designs.

The U.S. Mint will compensate each applicant $1,500 for their demonstration design for a current coin or medal program. The review panel will make recommendations to the Mint for final selections.

Application guidelines are posted on the NEA website at

U.S. Mint officials indicate the bureau is “especially interested in artists who will bring innovative perspectives and utilize symbolism in their work to clearly and evocatively convey subjects and themes. From portraits and landscapes, to depictions of notable achievements in American history, coin and medal designs require rendering a range of subjects and themes on a small space.”

To apply for the AIP, artists must be U.S. citizens who are established professional artists, defined as one who meets all of the following criteria:

? Has at least five years of relevant work experience or has received specialized training in his or her artistic field, such as a degree or certification.

? Derives a portion of his or her individual earned income from his or her art or areas related to his or her art.

? Has experience in digital art techniques such as use of Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, Wacom tablets or similar technology.

? Has a professional portfolio that includes published or publicly displayed art.

Applications and work samples will be reviewed on the basis of:

? Ability to convey complex concepts with symbolism.

? Masterful application of ingenuity in interpreting the subject matter and conveying its theme.

? Demonstration that the applicant is adaptable to different subject matters and themes.

? Ability to render figures, portraits, animals and landscapes with the use of perspective and scale.

To be considered, artists must register online with and submit their application by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time Jan. 10. Work samples must be uploaded by 11:59 p.m. ET Jan. 28.

National Endowment for the Arts representatives are looking forward to the joint United States Mint/NEA collaboration.

“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. “We are proud to partner with the United States Mint, and we applaud the goals of their Artistic Infusion Program.” ¦

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