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The National Art Exhibition
February 7, 2020 to March 25, 2020
Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud St., Punta Gorda, FL
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Application Dates:
Jul 10, 2019 - Dec 15, 2019
Application Fee:
$35.00 for 1 image
$50.00 for 2 images
$65.00 for 3 images
Notification Date:
Dec 30, 2019

12th Biennial

Held in Historic Punta Gorda, FL    February 7 – March 25, 2020

Sponsored by the Mary Ellen Byrd Legacy for the Arts

Best of Show: $2,000
Total Prize Money Over $8,000

2020 National Art Exhibit (NAE) At A Glance
Entry into the 2020 NAE will begin July 10, 2019 and continue through midnight on December 15, 2019. Use of JAS is free for applicants. JAS provides a comprehensive “help” menu as well as telephone and email support. Artist notification will be made by email in early January. If accepted into the 2020 NAE, you will receive further instructions by email regarding receiving and other important information.

The Visual Arts Center
One of the nation’s most prestigious juried exhibitions of two-dimensional media; this show is hosted by the Visual Arts Center, located in the heart of Punta Gorda along beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Punta Gorda is geographically situated in Southwest Florida between Sarasota and Naples, an affluent art-buying market. The show’s dates coincide with our greatest population of seasonal residents.  The nearly 1,000-member Visual Arts Center brings art and culture to its community through multi-media classes, state-of-the-art jewelry and pottery studios, workshops, lectures, and art festivals. The Visual Arts Center also boasts an outstanding art and supply store, gift shop and art library and displays exhibits in two galleries year-round. 


Important Dates in 2019

  • July 10: Online entry begins
  • December 15: Online entry closes at midnight
  • Notification by email will occur in early January


Important Dates in 2020

  • Receiving for shipped artwork, January 29, 30 & 31
  • Receiving for hand-delivered work January 31 and February 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Visual Arts Center
  • February 7:  Exhibit opens to the public
  • February 13: Awards Reception at the Visual Arts Center
  • March 24:  Last day of Exhibit
  • March 26 & 27: Pick up hand-delivered work from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Visual Arts Center; return shipping begins

The works selected for the show will be determined on the basis of digital images. Awards are based upon actual artwork.

  • Best of Show: $2,000
  • Second Prize: $1,000
  • Third Prize: $750
  • Award for Portrait Excellence: $750 (Eligibility limited to paintings, drawings and pastels)
  • Award for Abstract Excellence: $500
  • People’s Choice Award: $5 per vote (50/50 split between Visual Arts Center and winning artist) 

Additional monetary awards for excellence and merit will be given at the discretion of the judge. Total prize money will be in excess of $8,000.

Juror Dawn Emerson
Dawn Emerson is an internationally known pastel artist, art instructor and author. Originally from Massachusetts, she graduated from Brown University with a BA in English and a minor in art in 1977. She and her family headed to the Western United States in 1985, where she was inspired to change careers from graphic design to teaching art and design to children. In 1992 she began working with pastels and immersed herself in workshops with known pastel artists. By 1997 she was winning major awards, writing articles for various art publications and teaching her own workshops.

In 2008 Dawn began exploring printmaking. Monotype and other approaches like collagraphy and trace monotype offered new possibilities for combining pastel and mixed media with print making techniques. Many of these approaches are in her book, “Pastel Innovations,” which was published in 2017. The book has received international attention and is now translated into Russian, Spanish, and German.  She was invited to Moscow in 2019 and will be traveling to New Zealand and Australia in 2020.

Ms. Emerson’s work has been featured in many national exhibits, and is available through Mockingbird Gallery in Bend, Oregon. She is sought after as an artist, art judge, workshop instructor, and inspiring demonstrator. Her passion is to help people find their voice with art, to push the boundaries of the pastel medium, and to continue to grow as an artist.

Juror’s Statement
“Art is a way to connect with and interpret the world around us- its dynamic forces, power and beauty. As a Juror, I search for an artist’s unique ability to express the essence of our humanity through the visual language of mark making. In the hands of the artist the simple elements of color, shape, value, texture, line and space will transform a humble flat surface into a story that touches our very souls. Whether realistic, abstract, non-objective, or surreal—the empathetic insight, power, and skill of the artist will ring out honestly to reveal a level of observation and beauty that has the potential to heal a broken world and make our hearts soar.”

Workshop – “Pastel Innovations”
Dawn Emerson will present a two-day workshop for all levels on February 11th and 12th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Please visit the Visual Arts Center’s website, www.VisualArtCenter.org, for further information.

This exhibition is limited to two-dimensional paintings and drawings in oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, charcoal, colored pencil, graphite, and mixed media. Media for the Bowles Award for Portrait Excellence is limited to drawing, painting and pastel. The work must have been completed in the last three years and cannot have been accepted into the Visual Arts Center’s 2018 National Art Exhibition. Computer-generated art, photography, glass and fiber/fabric art are not eligible. There are no size restrictions; however, work must not weigh more than 60 pounds. Artists must be at least 18 years of age to enter. Artwork from any state or country is eligible for entry.

Entry Procedures:
You may enter up to three (3) entries for jurying. Entry must be made online through Juried Arts Services (www.juriedartservices.com).  Your full entry (including non-refundable payment and image uploads) MUST BE COMPLETED by midnight on Sunday, December 15, 2019, in order to be considered.  No entries or applications will be accepted by email, by regular mail or in person. The entry fee is $35 for the first submission and $15 for each second and third submission. American Express is not accepted as a form of payment.  

Displaying of Exhibit Works:
All works must be properly framed. Glass and gallery quality plexiglass may be used for framing. Gallery wrapped canvases will be considered properly framed so long as stapled edges are not exposed. Art must be ready to hang with securely fastened picture wire and screw eyes. The center of the wire must be at least three inches from the top of the frame when hung. 

Accepted Work:
All entries will receive notification of juried results by email in early January. Artists whose work is accepted into the exhibition will then receive instructions for shipping and delivery. The Visual Arts Center reserves the right to return work that does not meet the specifications herein. Any work that differs from accepted entries will be disqualified upon receipt. No work may be withdrawn before the close of the exhibit.

The Visual Arts Center:
The Visual Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1961 by local artists. Its mission is to inspire, explore, create and promote the visual arts. It is supported solely through membership dues, class fees, special events, annual gifts, corporate sponsorships and grants, including grants from the Visual Arts Center’s Endowment Trust. Membership is open to all.

Originality Policy:
Only original works may be submitted. Any entry must be a concept entirely developed by the submitting artist and executed by his/her own hand. Duplications of another’s work of art, whether by machine, hand or paint, is considered copyright infringement and may not hang in regular exhibits. Entries found not to be original will be excluded from the show and any awards revoked with no return of entry fees.

Release & Agreement Notice:
The Visual Arts Center (VAC), and its agents, will exercise care with respect to the property exhibited as it does in safeguarding its own property, but does not accept responsibility for the loss or damage to the artists’ work during the exhibit and related activities. By entering an exhibit, the artist agrees to release and hold the VAC and its agents (including staff and volunteers) harmless from any liability, damage or loss to the artist and the artist’s work arising in any way from or connected to this exhibition or related activities, or from any other loss or damage whatsoever arising from or connected to this show. The phrase “loss or damage” encompasses, but is not limited to, theft, mistaken labeling, damage by a guest or patron, damage by VAC and its staff or volunteers, damage due to environmental conditions or injury to the artist.

All participating artists agree to allow the Visual Arts Center to use their artwork in advertising, in press releases, on our website, and in any other promotional activities.  Care will be taken to give each artist proper credit.

Sales of Artwork:
All artwork must be for sale. Work will be sold at the price originally stated by the artist on the entry form. There will be a 40% commission to the Visual Arts Center on all sales.



Please contact the Visual Arts Center at 941.639.8810 or email NAE@visualartcenter.org.



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