Request for Original Art: MN Master Naturalist 20th Anniversary

by Jessica Stolen
u of m extension word logo

University of Minnesota Extension

Seeking artist to produce art to commemorate 20th anniversary 


Minnesota Master Naturalist is a volunteer program of the University of Minnesota Extension that teaches adults about Minnesota’s natural resources, empowers them to educate others, and encourages them to play meaningful roles in  conservation projects. The program’s mission is to foster understanding, appreciation and stewardship of Minnesota’s natural environment by developing a corps of informed and skilled volunteers. More than 1,000 volunteers annually contribute tens-of-thousands of service hours for conservation projects impacting over ten thousand acres of land, contributing to new scientific research, and educating more than 25,000 people across Minnesota. After completing a  40-hour core training, volunteers remain active from year-to-year by completing at least 8-hours of ongoing education and 40-hours of service.


In 2025 the Minnesota Master Naturalist program will celebrate its 20th Anniversary, and to mark the occasion they seek to commission an artistic work that captures the spirit and impact of the program. Relevant design motifs include Minnesota’s natural resources (geology, plant communities, wildlife, ecology, aquatic systems, human impacts), education, volunteerism, and community. The artwork may be realistic or stylized and must be consistent with the goals, mission and values of the Minnesota Master Naturalist program. 

The resulting art will be reproduced into a commemorative graphic similar in style to the old school National Parks posters  or emblems, and will be applied in a variety of sizes and orientations on promotional items such as posters, mugs, t-shirts, stickers, brochures, banners, publications, social media, etc. These promotional items may be given or sold to participants and supporters of the Minnesota Master Naturalist program. The artwork will not be used as a replacement for U of M/Extension branding but will be incorporated into properly branded materials. 

The selected artist will attend, in person (transportation expenses to be covered separately) or via Zoom, an educational and/or meet and greet session with program participants. The artist will be asked to provide snapshots of themselves and/or their work for the program’s social media


The commissioned art will be a focal point of the Minnesota Master Naturalist program’s 20th Anniversary celebration. When this art is converted into identity-raising mementos, participants will have daily reminders of the program for which they feel an affinity. Participants will be prompted to report their volunteer service hours, which will boost reportable impacts. It will also provide a keepsake that people will want to share with like-minded friends and family members, which will increase awareness of the program and ultimately boost registration and revenue. 


The Minnesota Master Naturalist State Leadership Team reserves the right to request minor revisions to the proposed design. The submitted art should be two-dimensional and can range anywhere between 8”x10” to 24”x36” per the artist’s preference. Digital art, oils, pastels, woodcuts, watercolors, ink, etc. on canvas or paper are all suitable for the original art. Final original work must be delivered to the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus for scanning and display. University of Minnesota staff will apply appropriate UMN branding and text to digitized versions of the art in order to generate the composite graphic that will be printed on posters, mugs, etc. The original art will remain the property of the Minnesota Master Naturalist program.


Submitted artwork must be original. Artists will represent and warrant that they are the sole author and sole proprietor of all rights in and to any portion of the submitted artwork; that it has not been previously published; that it does not violate or infringe on any personal or property rights of others, whether common law or statutory. Winning artist will be asked to transfer all rights to the artwork to the Regents of the University of Minnesota, in perpetuity. Artists may propose alternative copyright arrangements for us to consider. 


The artist will provide a bid for the project when submitting the proposal to be inclusive of all expenses to generate and deliver the art. Payments will be made in installments; half at the start and half after all artwork has been delivered. The artist will provide an invoice in order to receive payment. After the second payment, no further commissions will be paid. 


Proposals will be submitted by email and should include 

  • artist statement and summary of relevant art experience
  • description of experience with natural history subject matter
  • original sketch of proposed design 
  • curated portfolio of 5-10 photos of sample work

Submit proposals by email to with a subject line “Art Commission Proposal – [Artist name]” no later than July 31, 2024.


The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program will select the proposal it feels best meets the interests of the Program, in its sole discretion. 


  • Proposals must be submitted by July 31, 2024
  • Project awarded September 30, 2024
  • Final original art due: November 30, 2024


Questions and proposals may be directed to Andrea Lorek Strauss,

CLOSESJuly 31, 2024 12:00 am

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