Winning artwork by Larry Mendenhall

Winning artwork by Larry Mendenhall

If you know any budding youth artists or adults with artistic talent, point them to the Second Annual Celebration of Iowa Agriculture Art Award and yes, there are cash prizes for the winners.

I’m just in awe of last year’s winners. Larry Mendenhall of Altoona and Erika Matsuyama of Ankeny won the inaugural contest last year.

Artists have until July 1 to submit their work for this year’s award.

Here is more about the contest from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship:

Erika Matsuyama of Ankeny was the winner of the youth division in 2012.

Erika Matsuyama of Ankeny was the winner of the youth division in 2012.

DES MOINES – Iowa artists of all ages are invited to participate in the second annual “Celebration of Iowa: Agricultural Art Award” sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).  The theme for this year’s exhibit is “Cultivating Change.”

The Celebration of Iowa: Agriculture Art Award is a juried art exhibit that recognizes Iowa artists and celebrates our state’s role as a global leader in agriculture. Artwork will be judged on innovation of concept, execution of contest theme, and the aesthetic and technical quality of the work. There is a Youth Division with a $1,000 first place prize and an Adult Division with a $1,500 grand prize. Second, third and honorary award winners also have monetary awards in this prestigious art exhibit.

“We were extremely pleased with the positive response to the exhibit last year with many strong entries and hope even more Iowans will prepare pieces and submit them for consideration this year,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said.

“Iowa has a strong and proud tradition of honoring our land through art,” Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Cownie said. “Last year’s exhibition was a tremendous success and we are pleased to partner with the Department of Agriculture and Farm Bureau once again to showcase Iowa artists of all ages and encourage their talent.”

The exhibit features $5,000 in cash prizes in both a Youth Division (ages 17 and under) and an Adult Division (ages 18 and over).  The Adult Division will award $1,500 to first place, $1,000 to the second place, and $750 to third place.  The Youth Division will award $1,000 to first place, $500 to second place and $250 to third place. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is sponsoring the prizes.

“Iowa farmers appreciate the diversity and beauty of the land and the strong character of rural Iowa.  We believe the theme, “Cultivating Change” is an appropriate one, because Iowa farmers have a long history of honoring the traditions and heritage of our forefathers, while embracing innovation and change, which help us take better care of the land, our livestock and our watershed, all while providing food for a growing population.  We look forward to seeing how these talented Iowa artists capture those qualities in their work; which will stand as testament to all that farmers bring to this great state,” said Iowa Farm Bureau President, Craig Hill.

Exhibit entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges arranged by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Eligible participants must be Iowa residents working in 2D or 3D media (film, video, or installation work will not be accepted). All artwork must be original.

A submission form and additional requirements including artwork specifications are available by visiting<> or<>.  The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2013.

Inquiries regarding the contest may be directed to Veronica O’Hern, Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, at<>.

Last year entries were received from artists representing 45 Iowa communities.