Restore the Wild Artwork Competition/Exhibition

2023 General Rules and Guidelines

We welcome artists to create and submit an original piece of art (not photography) for the 2023 Restore the Wild Artwork Competition/Exhibition. Artwork for Restore the Wild should reflect Restore the Wild’s mission to restore and create natural habitats vital to the survival of Virginia’s wildlife.

The subject focus of 2023’s artwork is the Eastern Hellbender and clean water. Eastern Hellbenders are the largest salamanders in North America. They are an aquatic species that prefer to live in clear, healthy, fast-flowing streams and rivers with river bottoms composed of sand, gravel, and abundant large, flat rocks. In Virginia, they are found only in the southwest part of the state and they are listed as a Tier 1 Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan.

A panel of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), and other conservation organizations or artists deemed appropriate by the DWR, will judge all submitted art.

Judges will evaluate entries according to the criteria outlined in these rules and guidelines including, but not limited to:

  • accuracy of the subject species and its habitat
  • composition and esthetic merit
  • inclusion of any mandatory elements or theme
  • overall impression

Rules and Guidelines:

  1. Contest judges and their immediate relatives are ineligible to submit entries.
  2. Any artistic style or medium accepted, except for photography, but it must be two-dimensional art, able to hang on a wall. Design may also include DWR’s Restore the Wild logo (file available here), but this is not required.
  3. Artists may submit artwork to one of the following categories:
    • Natural History Illustration – Artists should create realistic scenes depicting the species in its natural habitat. Judges will be looking for a piece of art that celebrates clean water and Restore the Wild’s mission to restore and create natural habitats vital to the survival of Virginia’s wildlife. The Eastern Hellbender must be the dominant feature/ obvious focus of the design and be anatomically accurate. It should also be noticeably larger than any other elements. Artists are encouraged to include other aquatic wildlife species that may be found in the Eastern Hellbender’s habitat, but again, the Eastern Hellbender should be the primary focus. Any plants or other wildlife species depicted should be of those native to Virginia and relevant to the Eastern Hellbender’s natural habitat.
    • Youth (ages 16 and under) – Artists should create scenes depicting the Eastern Hellbender in its natural habitat and celebrating the theme of clean water and Restore the Wild’s mission to restore and create natural habitats vital to the survival of Virginia’s wildlife. The Eastern Hellbender must be the dominant feature in the design. The species should be noticeably larger than any other elements. Artists are encouraged to include other aquatic wildlife species that may be found in the Eastern Hellbender’s habitat, but again, the Eastern Hellbender should be the primary focus. Any specific plant or other wildlife species depicted should be of those native to Virginia and relevant to Eastern Hellbender habitat.
    • Artistic Expression (no age restriction) – Your creative interpretation of Eastern Hellbender and their habitat.
  4. Each artist may submit no more than two original works.
  5. Each submission must be an original work of the artist’s own creation. While photographs and published images may be used as references, the work submitted must be original and not a copy.
  6. Work must be two dimensional and no bigger than 20” in either direction (including matt or frame). Work must be ready to hang on the wall. If framed, it must have a wire. If matted, it will be hung with clips. If framed, please do NOT use glass.
  7. Signatures are not permitted on the front of your artwork.
  8. Pieces selected for the 2023 exhibition will be at the discretion of the DWR Contest Panel. All art selected will be displayed in the Elisabeth Flynn-Chapman Gallery at Artspace, 2833-A Hathaway Road, Richmond, VA 23225, from Friday, February 24th until Saturday, March 18th. On Friday, February, 24th, there will be a public opening reception, 6:00pm -9:00pm. Thereafter, the exhibition will be open to the public daily, Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 4:00pm. On Friday, March 17th, there will be a closing reception for artists and their guests and Restore the Wild members and donors from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm.
  9. It is the artist’s choice whether the work is for sale or not. If it is for sale, the sales transaction is entirely beween the buyer and the artist. Artspace gallery will not process the sale or take any commission. Whether the work is for sale or not, it must remain in the exhibition until March 17th.
  10. Artwork may be collected at the end of the closing reception on Friday, March 17th, or on Saturday, March 18th, from noon until 4:00pm. Work not collected by the artist on those days will be mailed back with the pre-paid label provided by the artist.
  11. Each artist must include return postage with their entries. Please provide this in the form of a postage-paid return label with your entry. Please notify the DWR of any changes to your return address by emailing kim.crockett@dwr.virginia.gov. Artwork must be picked up at the closing reception on Friday, March 17th, or on Saturday, March 18th, from noon until 4:00pm, or it must include a postage-paid return label. If artwork is not picked up or does not have pre-paid postage provided, artwork will not be returned.
  12. DWR may reproduce images of the artwork. The DWR is authorized to sell, distribute, display, reproduce, or otherwise use said images at its discretion. Artworks selected for use as the Restore the Wild sticker or fine-art print may have the Restore the Wild graphic/text added to it, but not in a way that will obscure any major portion of the works.
  13. While every effort will be made to handle the work with care and protect it, neither DWR nor Artspace will be held accountable for minor damage (e.g. dings, creases, indentations) caused in the process of the exhibition or in transport.
  14. Winning artworks
    • One winner will be selected from each category.
    • Winners will be announced at the opening reception on Friday, February 24th, 2023.
    • Additionally, we will be selecting two pieces of art, one to be used as a Restore the Wild sticker and one to be used as a fine-art print, to help promote Restore the Wild in 2023 and to provide gifts to Restore the Wild members.
    • All winners will receive the following recognitions:
      • Their winning artwork posted on Facebook and Instagram with the announcement of the artist as the winner of the Restore the Wild annual artwork contest, either tagging them or including a link to their website
      • A short article about the artist and their work in the Restore the Wild quarterly newsletter, which will include a link to their website
      • A press release
      • Recognition of the artist’s accomplishment to the DWR board and the agency
      • An announcement of the winning art selection in Virginia Wildlife magazine
  15. All entries must be received by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources before 5 p.m. on February 3, 2023. Entries postmarked by February 1, 2023 will also be accepted.

A signed copy of this rules agreement document must accompany your submission.

Mailing Address for Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources:

Restore the Wild Art: Attention – Kim Crockett
7870 Villa Park Drive Suite 400 P.O. Box 90778
Henrico, VA 23228

Thank you to our partner, Artspace, for making this contest/exhibition possible.

artspace