2020 Water Treatment Plant Public Art Contest & Exhibition

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The City of Ames Water & Pollution Control Department invites your entries for the 2020 Water Treatment Plant Public Art Contest & Exhibition.

Three honoraria will be awarded: $400 for Best in Show, $200 for People’s Choice, and $100 for Most Likable (our award given to the piece most liked on the Ames Water & Pollution Control Facebook page). In addition, each exhibited piece will be considered for purchase by the City for its permanent collection.


The purpose of the Ames Water Plant Public Art Contest & Exhibition is to showcase the vitally important role that water plays in our lives by displaying works of fine art that represent water in all of its many forms and functions.  Whether its depiction is clever, witty, thought-provoking, or visually stunning, water should be the main protagonist of the piece. This year’s theme is Water for Health.


APRIL 20 - SEPTEMBER 11, 2020
Entries Accepted

SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 at 5:00 PM
Entry Deadline

SEPTEMBER 21 - 25, 2020
Artists Notified

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020
Art drop off for finalists begins

OCTOBER 9, 2020 at 5:00 PM
Delivery Deadline for Finalist Artwork

Art Exhibition & Voting

NOVEMBER 13, 2020
Best in Show, People’s Choice, and Most Likable Awarded

Unsold exhibited pieces may be picked up by the artist





Artists may enter up to three two-dimensional pieces of art for the contest & exhibition. Each entry must be related to this year’s theme, Water for Health.

Entries must be a non-returnable, color photo or scan that is formatted to accurately represent the piece for judging. Acceptable file formats include: PDF, JPEG, GIF, and PNG.  Entries are juried from photographs, so all submissions must be a high-resolution image, regardless of media.

Actual 2-D pieces should be no larger than 48” in any direction and no smaller than 8” x 10.” Proper orientation of the piece shall be indicated in the artist’s statement.

Entries must include the following:

  • Completed Entry Form
  • Rules Acknowledgment Form
  • A clear, high-resolution photograph or scan of the art entry
  • Artist’s statement about each entry and how it relates to water

All work submitted must be original to the artist, suitable for public display (i.e.: pieces must not contain nudity, socially unacceptable imagery, imagery of illegal acts, vulgar language, etc.), and finished as represented. All entries submitted must be for sale. Artists must be 18 years old as of August 1, 2020. City of Ames employees, Public Art Commission members and/or their immediate family members are not eligible to submit entries.  Artwork previously selected for display is ineligible.  Agents acting on behalf of the artist are allowed to submit pieces, however the City requires the artist’s contact information to be submitted along with the approved agency’s contact information. Entries may be submitted beginning Monday, April 20, 2020. Submission deadline is Friday, September 11, 2020 at 5:00 PM.

All entry drop-offs and pick-ups shall be between the hours of 8 AM - 12 PM and 1 PM - 5 PM, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays when the offices are closed).

Entries may be submitted via:

Email: ArtContest@CityofAmes.org
Mail or In Person:   
Art Contest
c/o Water Treatment Plant
1800 E. 13th Street
Ames, IA 50010



The City of Ames will insure art pieces up to a maximum of $2,000 property loss after installation.  The City retains the right to remove damaged art pieces in the absence of prompt and satisfactory repair in the interest of public safety.



Water & Pollution Control staff will jury the entries from photos submitted. Artists whose work is selected for exhibition will be notified by September 25, 2020. 

Art selected for exhibition will be on display from October 19 - November 6, 2020. During that time, City of Ames staff and the public will be allowed to cast their vote for Best in Show and People’s Choice. In addition, voting will be open on the City of Ames Water & Pollution Control Facebook page for the Most Likable award. Only one vote per person per piece will be allowed.

Awards will be given as follows:

Best in Show - $400
People’s Choice - $200
Most Likable - $100

Winners will be paid by check from the City of Ames, and will be required to complete a W-9 form. Winners are solely responsible for all local, state, and federal taxes.



The City of Ames retains the right to the first-offer of purchase on each submission for its permanent art collection and display. For this reason, and for insurance purposes, all contest entries must be assigned value by the artist.  The City will select pieces it wishes to purchase by November 13, 2020.  Any other piece may then be sold for private purchase at the conclusion of the exhibition. The City will not charge commission for any private sales, so please price accordingly.  Sale price will be considered final upon initial entry.



It is the responsibility of the artist to transport any piece of art selected for exhibition to and from the Ames Water Treatment Plant. Artists are responsible for installing appropriate hardware and framing for display. All art MUST be ready for hanging/display upon drop off. City staff will hang the pieces for display. If any piece of art arrives at the water plant without hardware for proper hanging in relation to size, weight, shape, etc., City staff reserves the right to contact the artist to receive permission to install or modify the piece and/or not display the piece in exhibition and withdraw the entry from finalist status. Artwork must remain on display throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Unsold exhibited pieces may be picked up by the artist or an agent of the artist beginning November 16, 2020. Any piece not claimed by 5 PM on December 4, 2020 will become property of the City of Ames.


For more information:

Ames Water Treatment Plant
1800 E. 13th Street
Ames, IA 50010

Phone: 515-239-5150
Click here for to email the Art Contest 
Click here for the Ames Water & Pollution Control Facebook Page


Click here for the 2020 Water Treatment Plant Public Art Contest & Exhibition Brochure & Entry Form 


Click here for the Rules Acknowledgment Form 

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