High School Art Contest: Celebrating McDowell County



THEME: McDowell County is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. To help mark that milestone, the Friends of Mountain Gateway Museum (FOTMGM) and the Arrowhead Artists and Artisans League (A3L) in Old Fort are inviting the county’s high school-age youths to create fine artworks that depict what McDowell County means to them.


People, places, and things of historical significance in the county’s history would be welcome subject matter, but there are no limitations. Artists are free to be creative. However, all artwork submitted must be in good taste. Acceptance of works for the contest will be at the discretion of co-curators Helen Sullivan and Kelley Wheeler.


PRIZES: FOTMGM will award $200 to the first-place winner; $100 to the second-place winner; and $50 for the third-place winner of the contest. A special ribbon and a $25 gift certificate to Arrowhead Gallery & Studios will be given to the “Best Themed Entry” winner. “Honorable Mention” ribbons may be awarded at the discretion of the judge.


ELIGIBILITY: This contest will be open only to McDowell County high-school age students in grades 9 thru 12 or the equivalent, including home schools and McDowell Early College. Please address questions about eligibility to the co-curators at A3L@arrowheadart.org.  

Each artist will be allowed only one entry.

No registration fee will be charged.


SUGGESTED MEDIA: Include, but are not limited to, oils, acrylics, encaustic, cold wax, mixed media, watercolors, pastels, pen-and-ink, colored pencils, scratchboard, photography, digital media, sculpture, wood, jewelry, clay, papier-mache’, and fabric.


PRESENTATION:  All work must be original. (NO reproductions accepted.)


Both 2-D and 3-D artworks will be accepted as long as they are in good taste and follow the guidelines. Two-dimensional works should be no larger than 24 inches by 30 inches unframed. Three-dimensional entries should be no larger than two feet in diameter.


Artworks on paper must be framed, matted or mounted. Stretched canvas must have edges painted a solid color.


All works must be wired or strung and ready to hang.


Artists will be allowed to sell their entries, if they choose. However, they must set the price for their work. A3L will take 10 percent of all sales.

Entry Forms: The prospectus and entry forms for this show will be available online, beginning Wednesday, August 1, at www.mgmnc.orgwww.arrowheadart.org/ (under Exhibits tab); and http://mhs.mcdowell.k12.nc.us/; and also at the following physical locations:


Old Fort:  Mountain Gateway Museum & Heritage Center, Arrowhead Art Gallery &            Studios, Old Fort Town Hall, and Old Fort Branch Library.


Marion: McDowell High School, McDowell Early College, McDowell Arts Council Association (MACA), Marion City Hall, and McDowell County Public Library.



Entry Take In: Wednesday, September 19, by 6:00 p.m. – NO exceptions unless arrangements are made in advance. Artworks and completed entry forms should be dropped off at the Arrowhead Gallery & Studios, 78-C South Catawba Ave., Old Fort. (NOTE: If you can’t come by the gallery, please send your artwork with someone else, and be sure to send the completed prospectus.)

Artwork Judged: Thursday, September 20. Judge will be Mathilda Tanner. An award-winning 2-D artist and potter with more than 20 years of experience, Ms. Tanner is the primary pottery instructor at the Arrowhead Gallery & Studios in Old Fort and a senior pottery instructor at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. 

Artwork Hung: Friday, Sept. 21

Awards Reception: Saturday, Sept. 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Arrowhead Gallery & Studios, 78-C South Catawba Avenue, Old Fort. Prizes and ribbons will be presented then.

Exhibition: Winning entries will be exhibited at Mountain Gateway Museum & Heritage Center, 24 Water Street, Old Fort, during the week of McDowell County’s 175th anniversary celebration (i.e., September 22-30).

Other entries will be exhibited at Arrowhead Gallery & Studios through Thursday, October 18.

Pick-up of all unsold artwork will be after the exhibit closes on Thursday, Oct. 18. NOTE: If you can’t pick up your work, please have someone else pick up your work, as the gallery has no space for storage.


LIABILITY:  Although reasonable care will be taken in handling and displaying all work, A3L and its volunteers will not be responsible for damage or loss. Due to the lack of storage space, artists must pick up their work at the Annex Gallery at the designated time. Artists may arrange for artwork pickup by another party. Work left after 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, will be removed of an off-site location; work left for longer than 14 days becomes the property of A3L. If you cannot pick up your art during designated time, please make arrangements to have someone pick it up for you.

ENTRY PROCEDURE: Complete an entry form and bring it with artwork to Arrowhead Gallery & Studios, 78-C South Catawba Ave., Old Fort, by 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Sept 19.

Reminder: Each participant may submit only one piece of art.

EXHIBITION ENTRY FORM:  Please complete this form before bringing in entries. We recommend that you keep a copy of your Entry Form for reference. FOTMGM and A3L reserve the right to refuse any artwork deemed unsuitable (example – not in good taste).

Images of your artwork may be used in advertising and other promotional purposes.

Reminder: Each participant may submit only one piece of art.