Become a part of history… The designs on United States coins and medals are more than simple illustrations on small metal discs: they are expressions of the values, aspirations, and shared heritage of our Nation. They serve as illustrations to the world of the essence and story of America.
What is the Call for Artists and the AIP?
The United States Mint is seeking professional artists to join our AIP via a Call for Artists. The AIP is a pool of talented American artists who enrich and invigorate our Nation’s coins and medals through the development of specialized designs. AIP artists are:
- Paid a set fee per assignment and earn a bonus fee of $5,000 per design selected for minting
- Named as designer in historical documents, Certificates of Authenticity and promotional materials, and in most cases, have their initials appear on the final coin or medal
- Able to work from their own studios
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
Artists Answering the Call
Artists who can bring innovative perspectives and who can effectively utilize symbolism to create original artwork that successfully conveys a particular subject matter should consider applying. The subject matter of the assignments varies across the programs. For example, some programs require portraits, some require landscapes, and many—as is the case with the Congressional Gold Medal Program—require images emblematic of the honoree’s life and work. Many times, complex ideas and concepts must be conveyed through the coin and medal designs. Artists are expected to distill a program’s design theme to its essence, representing these complicated subjects on a very small palette. Whether a particular AIP artist’s work is realistic or stylized, artists typically use a variety of resource or reference materials to translate and interpret the wide-range of subjects and concepts into designs.
Although designs begin as an illustration, artists must think three-dimensionally as they create coin and medal designs that will be translated into bas-relief sculpture. Artists must take into consideration relief, depth, negative space, and the type of metal that will bear the design. The journey of a design from line art to a coin is illustrated below using the 2018 America the Beautiful Quarter® for Block Island National Wildlife Refuge located in Rhode Island. To learn more about the United States Mint’s Artists please visit the Artists page.
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.