Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Memphis in May Holds Open Call for Visual Artists

Photo: Jeff Riddle

You may have already heard that the 2019 Memphis in May festival will break from tradition. Instead of honoring a country, the month-long celebration will give a nod to the city’s bicentennial with the theme “Salute to Memphis.” In another exciting first for the festival, Memphis in May is inviting local artists to submit their designs for a juried competition which will determine the official commemorative poster.

The process in previous years was to commission a specific artist to pay tribute to the honored country by creating an original artwork. For the 2019 Salute to Memphis, the art selection process includes an open call for submissions, a juried panel review, and public voting to select the finalists and winning design.

From now through December 1st, artists living in Memphis and Shelby County can submit images of their original artwork that’s “inspired by the vibrant culture and diverse tapestry of Memphis.”

The submissions will be narrowed down via a juried panel comprised of artists, museum and gallery administrators, and art academics and art educators. Public voting will open at the end of January.  The winner will be announced in March.

All the finalists will be displayed in a gallery exhibition called “Visions of Memphis” from May 1st – 31st. It’s one of several events that make up the month-long cultural celebration that’s perhaps best known for Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

In addition to being featured in the gallery exhibition, the winning design will be available for purchase as the commemorative poster for the festival, and the artist will receive a $2000 monetary award. The second place award is $1,000 and the third place award is $500. Honorable Mentions will each receive a $200 award.

For guidelines and rules for submission, visit

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