US Mint Holds Coin Design Competition

The United States Mint has called for students to apply to its Artistic Infusion Program, which was created specifically for outside artists to contribute to the design of the Mint’s coins and medals.

Up to six college or graduate-level student designers will be chosen, in addition to 10 new associate designers and 10 current master designers. Selected students will take part in an internship at the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia, PA, and will submit candidate designs annually for different coin and medal programs, according to a US Mint press release.

The United States Mint, which is responsible for manufacturing legal tender coins, commemorative coins, and Congressional medals, launched the AIP in November 2003.

Students who are selected for this year’s program will also receive a $500 honorarium and an additional $2000 for each design that is ultimately selected. Winning designs will be modeled by the US Mint’s own sculptor-engravers.

In the past, AIP artists have designed coins in such programs as the 50 State Quarters Program, the Westward Journey Nickel Series and the Presidential $1 Coin Program.

Six students, with majors including illustration, bas-relief study and graphic design, were chosen in February 2004 as part of the AIP’s initial call for artists.

Analee Kasudia, then a sophomore at Columbia College Chicago, was among the winning students. Initially, she thought her chances of making the cut in the application process were slim.

“I was astounded,” she said. “A federal institution was calling upon its nation’s artistic citizens to design coins for them.”

Kasudia said she felt intimidated by the scope of the program and had moments of doubt. When she sent away her application, she had all but written off any chance of being chosen.

“After all, this was US Mint I was dealing with,” Kasudia said. “Yet I knew if I didn’t at least try…I’d regret it later on. I realized opportunities like this rarely come running through my door.”

“To design a detailed, tiny, narrative, three-dimensional visual was going to be an intriguing challenge I was willing to take,” she added.

In addition to a statement of intention, Kasudia and other applicants were asked to submit a mock coin design.

This year’s mock exercise calls for a commemorative coin marking the 400th anniversary of the colony in Jamestown, Va. The application lists various qualities of a desirable design, but leaves the rest up to the imagination of the applicant.

The deadline for this year’s competition for associate designers ended last week, but students in undergraduate and graduate-level visual arts programs have until Oct. 16 to apply online or by phone to this year’s Artistic Infusion Program.

Kasudia advises prospective applicants to “have faith in your abilities and artwork…your artwork could be mass-produced for a wide audience.”

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