US Coins

U.S. Mint names 27 outside artists to Artistic Infusion Program

While all U.S. coin and medal designs are sculpted by members of the Mint's engraving staff, many original designs are rendered by outside artists under the Artistic Infusion Program.

Images courtesy of the United States Mint.

The United States Mint announced July 17 that 27 outside artists — including two retired U.S. Mint sculptor-engravers and a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee — were selected to participate in its Artistic Infusion Program to complement the U.S. Mint engraving staff in rendering coin and medal designs.

“We’ve selected diverse artists who represent every region of America, from coast to coast,” said Mint Director David J. Ryder. “Sixteen of the artists are new to the program and we’re challenging them to exert a major influence on the future of our nation’s coinage, to aspire to the creative mastery of giants such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Victor David Brenner, and A.A. Weinman as the Mint creates new designs in the 21st century.”

All the AIP artists selected attended a three-day symposium June 3 to June 5 featuring intensive training to welcome, guide and inspire their work. AIP artists who took honors in the 2019 Coin of the Year Awards — Justin Kunz and Chris Costello for the 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin as Best Gold Coin, and Emily Damstra for the Boys Town Centennial Silver Dollar, as Most Inspirational Coin — were also recognized at the symposium with a commemorative plaque signed by the director of the Mint.

Below is a list of the artists selected for the Artistic Infusion Program. Names of returning AIP artists appear in italics. Biographical information and photographs of the newly selected artists will appear on the Mint website in the near future at

Katelyn Arquette

Steven Kenny

Peter Beck

Justin Kunz

Robert J. Clarke

Patricia Lucas-Morris

Chris Costello

Richard Masters

Emily Damstra

Frank Morris

Allen Douglas

Laurie Musser

Lucas Durham

Jennie Norris

Don Everhart

Ron Sanders

Steve Ferris

Ben Sowards

Barbara Fox

Matt Swaim

Dennis Friel

Heidi Wastweet

Elana Hagler

Donna Weaver

Christina Hess

Beth Zaiken

Tom Hipschen

Weaver, who has been an AIP artist for several years, retired from the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff in 2006. Donald Everhart II closed out his nearly 14 year career on the Mint’s engraving staff in 2017..

Hipschen, who also is a returning AIP artist, is a former engraver for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Wastweet just completed her second four-year-term on the CCAC in 2018 as the member specially qualified in sculpture or medallic arts. She is the current president of the American Medallic Sculpture Association.


The AIP was established in 2003. It serves to enrich and invigorate the design of United States coins and medals by developing a pool of outside artists who specialize in graphic design, sculpture, engraving, drawing, painting, and other visual arts. These artists work closely with the United States Mint’s staff, including sculptor-engravers, to create and submit new designs for selected coin and medal programs throughout the year.

The designs of AIP artists adorn many United States coins and medals, such as America the Beautiful Quarters, Native American $1 coins, commemorative coins, platinum proof coins, congressional gold medals, American Liberty gold coins, and various silver and bronze medals.

Artists who join the AIP work under a task order contract from their own studios across the country, providing candidate designs in the form of finished drawings. Artists are paid $2,000 to $3,000 per assignment and are awarded a $5,000 bonus if their design is selected for a coin or medal by the secretary of the Treasury. In addition to the bonus, the artist is named in historical documents, certificates of authenticity, and promotional materials. In most cases, the artist’s initials appear on the final coins or medals along with the initials of the U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver who sculpted the selected design.

The Mint is especially interested in artists who will bring innovative perspectives and incorporate symbolism into 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, meeting all of the Mint's defining 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, Illustrator, Wacom tablets, or similar technology.
  • Has a professional portfolio that includes published or publicly displayed art.

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