Photo: Luke Williamson, Amherst Cultural Distirct

Source:  Amherst Center Cultural District

The Amherst Center Cultural District is sponsoring a contest for artists in all mediums to express their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $4000 in cash and gift certificates will be distributed to winners in various categories. The ACCD has received a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) last fall to develop this year’s ARTWeek programming, and the ACCD has decided to distribute the funds directly to artists. The MCC is permitting its grantee organizations to repurpose those grants as they deem most appropriate. 

The impact of COVID-19 continues to broadly affect every aspect of life around the world.  Artists can communicate, express and decipher complicated and challenging times; where and how we live, eat, work, communicate, reflect, stay informed, vote, stay healthy, provide for ourselves and our family, stay sane and balanced and resilient are daily, even hourly concerns. We are experiencing this together, but every experience is not the same.  

The contest’s goal with is to ensure all artists are seen and heard. The ACCD board recognizes that racism is a public health crisis and that COVID-19 has greater impact on people of color,  low-income individuals, the disabled and we encourage submissions from traditionally underrepresented communities. 

 Who Is Eligible?
The contest is open to the following:

• Artists working in any discipline aged 18 or older and,

•  Artists who work or have worked in Amherst, and/or their creative work has been exhibited or performed in Amherst; and.

• Artist’s who certify that the virus has impacted the income  they expected from their creative work this year.

Artistic entries can be in any medium as long as it conveys the artist’s response to COVID-19. 

ACCD strongly encourages artists who identify as people of color, LGBTQIA+, disabled or from a minority or underrepresented demographic to apply. 

The work could be any 2-dimensional art, photography, sculpture or art installation, musical performance, poetry, essay or other writing, or other creative response to the pandemic.The work must be able to be viewed or heard online for a virtual exhibition or performance in the fall. At an appropriate point, the ACCD hopes to exhibit or have the work performed “live.” Only one entry is allowed per artist. 

There is no entry fee.

Submission Requirements
Five Categories:

●    2-dimensional art (painting, photography, chalk art, etc.) 

●    Sculpture or art installation 

●    Musical or dance performance

●    Poetry or written word

●    Other

Important Dates
July 15: Deadline for Artist to fill out Application Form to enter contest 

Aug. 22: Deadline for Submission of work

Sept. 7: Announcement of Winners

Sept. 15: Announcement of Online Exhibition

Grand Prize – $375  

First Prizes in 5 categories – $250 each

Second Prize in 5 categories  – $175 each

Third Prize in 5 categories – $100 each

Honorable Mentions 20 – $50 gift certificates

Decisions on all awards will be made by a subcommittee of the ACCD Board of Directors and creative people from the community appointed by the Board. 

Visual art must be submitted in jpeg or png format with the longest side being 7 inches; resolution no less than 100 dpi.

Video submissions (e.g. dance performances) must be either linked to YouTube or submitted in Vimeo format, no longer than 10 minutes in length.

Filmed musical performances must be no longer than 10 minutes in length, linked and submitted via YouTube, Vimeo, BandCamp or
other platform with original lyrics (if any) submitted as accompanying Word document.

Poetry & Writing must not exceed 1,000 words.

Submit entry using Application Form, which can be found here, by July 15th

Or submit work by email to
by midnight, Aug. 22.

For more information:

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