Artists: Submit Your Work to the U.S. Mint

by Brandon Zech October 5, 2018
US Mint Sculpting a coin

United States Mint sculptor-engraver Phebe Hemphill finalizes design details on a plaster relief. Photo courtesy of the US Mint.

A government-sponsored open call offers artists the opportunity to submit their work to the U.S. Mint. Open through noon EST on October 29, 2018, the call seeks artists to join the Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program (AIP), which is “a pool of talented American artists who enrich and invigorate our Nation’s coins and medals through the development of specialized designs.”

Although the job doesn’t offer much creative freedom (as it involves rendering images that are impressed into the country’s currency), it does allow artists to interpret the various portraits and scenes that permeate pockets and registers across the U.S. Also, those creating the designs have to keep in mind the technical, material-based way currency is created: for coins, artists submit designs as line art, and the selected design is then sculpted by the U.S. mint as an oversize bas relief. The relief is then sized down and impressed onto pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters (this is how images on coins have considerable detail).

Steven Mnuchin, the Trump administration’s Treasury Secretary (and former MoCA board member and son of art dealer Robert Mnuchin), will essentially be the final “juror” of artists’ submissions. For information on how to submit your work to the U.S. Mint, see below.

AIP Eligibility
To qualify to join the AIP you must be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States; you must be willing to accept the Mint’s Terms and Conditions; and you must be an established professional artist, defined as one who:
—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, software and technology (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, Wacom tablets), and
—Has a professional portfolio that includes published or publicly displayed art

Application Requirements
To be considered for the AIP, you must submit an application containing a minimum of five and a maximum of ten samples of your work as an artist. Applicants are encouraged to submit works that display a variety of talent and ability. Please consider what is required of an AIP artist when selecting your work samples.

Following a preliminary review of these materials (estimated to be around December 2018), the United States Mint will invite a select pool of approximately 30 artists to complete and submit a demonstration design for an actual United States Mint coin or medal program. Invited applicants will be paid a fee of $1,500 for this work and will be eligible to receive an additional $5,000 (and have their initials appear on the coin or medal) if their design is selected by the Secretary of the Treasury to be made into a coin or medal.

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