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Be sure to read the prospectus in its entirety before continuing.

Heart of America Artists Association
2016 Illinois River Salon

Illinois River Watershed Partnership
Heart of America Artists’ Association present

The 2016 “Illinois River Salon” Art Exhibition


This is a juried event featuring artwork celebrating the beautiful Illinois River Watershed of Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma.

This event is made possible by a grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

1.    Paintings and drawings will be considered including oil, acrylic, pastels, watercolor, and drawing mediums. Mixed media and fabric will also be considered. No photography or wall sculpture. Questions about mediums can be directed to the Heart of America Artists’ Association.
2.    The number of selected entries for the full show will be at the discretion of the jurors. A portion of the selected works will be chosen for display at the “Restoration of Our Rivers Conference” held at *Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
3.    Must be an artwork completed in the past year.
4.    Artwork is not to exceed 30” in either height or width, not including the frame.
5.    Artwork must be for sale, and must remain with the show for its duration.
6.    Artwork must be representative of the Illinois River watershed located in Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma. It will be assumed that artists submitting entries have gathered reference or plein air of the Illinois River Watershed region currently or in the past. Artist is required to provide the relative location represented in their submitted artwork as we feel it will enhance the show for viewers. A detailed map of the area can be accessed HERE.
7.    35% of sales will go to Heart of America Artists’ Association, 65% to the artist.

All sales will be handled contractually between the artist and Heart of America Artists’ Association.

We’ve assembled a Google map to give you a starting place for reference-gathering or painting in the Illinois River Watershed. Go to this LINK

Three works by three different artists will be recognized for their merit with the following awards:
Best of Show $2,500
1st Place $1,500
2nd Place $1,000

How To Enter
Three pieces may be submitted, and the submission fees are as follows: $45 for one, $55 total for two, $65 total for three. You will be granted membership this year because of your submission.  Entry fees must be paid by the entry deadline.
Deadline for entries is August 26, 2016.
Notification of selected artwork will be on August 31, 2016.

Entering Your Images
Entry form must be filled out in its entirety, including unframed dimensions (or size), framed dimensions (if not known, estimate it) or weight, medium, and price, if requested.  List sizes up to the nearest half inch.  Submitted images must not include matting or frame.  Crop the photos to include only the artwork.  Be sure your images are right-side-up.

For best results, make sure your image is 1920 pixels @72 dpi on the longest side.  Images should be in JPEG format, sRGB color space.  Help in photographing your work and properly sizing your images can be found at:  If you need help entering your images or are unable to, please email or call 949-287-8645.

The jury process will be conducted by the founding members of Heart of America Artists Association, Todd A. Williams and John P. Lasater IV.

Judge of Awards will be Alejo Benedetti, Curatorial Assistant at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Alejo Benedetti joined Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2015 as a curatorial assistant. Most recently, Benedetti organized the focus exhibition, Black Unity, which features 13 artworks made by eight African American artists within the past five decades. In this permanent collection show, the unique voices of these artists come together to tell a story that transcends color and creed and unites viewers under a shared American experience. In his time at the museum, he has also assisted Curator Chad Alligood with the development of the 1940s to Now portion of the collection while also assisting with the traveling version of State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now.

Benedetti is a Texas native who earned his bachelor of arts in Art History and a bachelor of fine arts in Studio Art from the University of Missouri, Columbia and his master’s degree in Art History from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. While completing his degree at TCU, he worked as a curatorial intern at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, assisting with the exhibition Framing Desire: Photography and Video. While in Fort Worth, he also served as an art critic for Glasstire: Journal of Visual Art in Texas. As a critic, he reviewed contemporary exhibitions occurring at museums and galleries across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Benedetti’s research has focused on Contemporary art in the United States over the past 50 years with a particular emphasis on art of the West Coast since the 1980s. In his graduate thesis, he examined the artwork of Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw and how their works blur the barriers between the traditional art world and the world of comics.

August 26 - Entry deadline
August 31 - Notification of selected artwork
September 26-27 - Selected artwork must arrive or be hand-delivered to the IRWP Watershed Learning Center. More info to come.
September 30 - Opening Dinner for artists. Awards announced.
October 1 - Awards announced by email.    
October 6 - Reception and Banquet at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. A portion of the selected works will be chosen to be displayed at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art *(See asterisk at the bottom of the page). Artists of the top-award winning paintings and a guest will receive an invitation to attend.
October 7 - December 3 - All selected works will be on display in the IRWP Watershed Learning Center in downtown Cave Springs, Arkansas.
December 3 - Closing reception will be held for all participating artists and guests at the IRWP Watershed Learning Center in downtown Cave Springs, Arkansas.
December 5-6 - Selected works returned to artist, or picked up. A fee will apply for any return shipping.

Questions can be directed by email to:  Heart of America Artists' Association (

To Note
*Although a portion of the exhibit will be on display at an event held at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, artists are NOT TO DESCRIBE this as an “exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art” as it is part of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership’s annual conference and the 2016 Illinois River Salon.