Illumination 2021

Artist-Made Juried Exhibition

Cameron Art Museum invites proposals for original lantern designs.

Art helps us to process collective trauma and find hope – and light – in darkness. Now, over a year into the pandemic, we see our world in a new light. We have found fresh imagination. There are scars, and, for some, there is significant loss. Yet, we look to the next day with an acquired resilience. This year, the seventh for this exhibition, artists are encouraged to explore the theme of rebirth and renewal.


  • Proposal Acceptance Open: Wednesday, June 2, 2021
  • Proposal Entry Deadlines: Wednesday, August 4 at 11:59 PM EDT/Midnight
  • Notification of Acceptance: Via email Monday, August 16, 5 PM EDT
    LED lights will be shipped at the time of notification, as well as details for completed lantern shipment
  • Delivery of Completed Lantern: Wednesday, November 3 - Saturday, November 6 by 5 PM
    (work may be shipped or hand delivered)
  • Public Exhibition: Friday, December 3 - Sunday, January 9, 2022
  • Floating Lantern Ceremony: Sunday, January 9, 2022

Application Guidelines

All proposal submissions and payment of entry fees are conducted via the form below. Prior to submission, please direct questions to mbudd@cameronartmuseum.org with "Artist Lanterns" in the subject line.

NOTE: Please read all specifications as there are updates from previous years.

Steps for Application: Pay application fee first, then fill out application form.


Open to all artists residing in the United States and Canada, ages 18 and older.

Entry Fee

$15 (non-refundable) per entry, unlimited entries per artist.

Accepted artists to exhibition receive from CAM:

  • Required LED light source: 5w 360 degree illumination (comparable to 50 watt incandescent bulb, 2700K color) used with ceramic socket lamp holder. One bulb per lantern design. Additional bulbs may be allowed - based on design.
  • One ticket to Opening Party.
  • One Museum Admission valid during Illumination exhibition.

Submission Proposal

Completed lanterns are not required for proposal submission. Artists are strongly encouraged to explore contemporary and traditional materials, techniques, and aesthetics. Artists may work solo or collaborate with up to three other artists. Through CAM’s website, submit proposal description text, then upload images saved as a PDF or JPG (not more than 2 MB) renamed to lastname_firstname_lantern (for example: Smith_John_Lantern).

Images: For each work, please send a minimum of two (2) to five (5) different views of lantern maquettes, illustrated plans or detailed drawings, representing varying perspectives, detail images of lantern and/or details of lantern installation.

Proposal Description: Include as much information as possible, such as the lantern’s color, texture, and other formal elements and conceptual basis for lantern design. Mediums proposed for use need to be clearly defined. All work proposed must be the artist’s original concept and design.

Optional but Preferred: Artist’s statement, summary of studio practice and preferred mediums, and biographical statement are required, CV is optional.

Installation Requirements

Lighting: All lighting used in lanterns will be LED and will be provided by the museum. For safety reasons, no extension or alteration to museum-provided cord is allowed. If cord length longer than 6’ provided is needed, you must contact the museum with requested cord length and we will provide it. No live flames or incandescent lighting or additional lighting will be accepted.

Dimensions: Lanterns may be hanging, freestanding, tabletop, or wall mounted (hanging is preferred) and fit into 3 feet wide x 3 feet deep x 6 feet high. No minimum size requirement.

Installation: Hanging lanterns must be ready to hang with single provided LED lighting installed. Weight is not to exceed 5 pounds for hanging lanterns. Please test your hanging method before delivery to CAM. Wall mounted lanterns are allowed with downward cording, and must be tested for hanging before delivery to CAM. Standing lanterns must be freestanding and ready to install. Lanterns may be kinetic, but not motorized, and require no maintenance by museum staff. All lanterns must be 100% completed upon delivery. Only CAM staff to install.

Medium and Material Limitations

  • No floral and plant materials. No hollow reed basketry, bamboo, driftwood, bird/insect nests, logs, large branches (dried or newly cut).
  • No food items (including but not limited to: fruits vegetables, and spices).
  • No dried or preserved plants (flowers or herbs) or bark. No logs, found wood, dried branches, driftwood, tumbleweed, pieces of bark, or bales of hay. Permitted woods are milled or manufactured woods as purchased at a hobby or lumber store.
  • No fur or skins.
  • Handwoven, hand-spun textiles, fabrics or fibers (including raw cotton) may be allowed upon explanation of treatment of material. Manufactured textiles and fabrics are allowed.

Exhibition and Publicity

All selected works will be installed and displayed through January 9, 2022. Images of selected works will be featured on Cameron Art Museum’s website. Illumination 2021 juried exhibition will be publicized in regional press releases, social networking sites, and via CAM’s digital newsletters.


Top three award winners receive a cash prize and two floating lanterns in their honor. Floating Lantern Ceremony will be held at CAM on Sunday, January 9, 2022. Lanterns will be judged on Aesthetics (artist merit); Execution (craftsmanship); Conceptualism (thinking outside of the traditional box); Presentation (thoroughness in all of the above); Effectiveness of Lighting (treatment of bulb, results of light and shadows).

$1500 is Cash Prize Awards: 1st place: $750; 2nd Place: $500; 3rd Place: $250


Work is not required to be for sale and CAM will not manage the sales of lanterns. Artists may provide their contact information and CAM can make that information available.


Artist will bear costs of incoming and outgoing shipment and must provide packaging sufficient for 2-way travel including return shipping label or shipping account number. CAM will carefully package lantern for return but cannot be responsible for damages incurred in shipping.


For more information, email mbudd@cameronartmuseum.org with "Artist Lanterns" in the subject line.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I design and create a wall-mounted lantern for the competition?
A. Yes, cord must come from the bottom of the lantern.

Q. Will the lanterns be hanging indoors or outside?
A. All lanterns in the competition will be hanging inside the Cameron Art Museum.

Q. May I collaborate with another artist or designer for this exhibition?
A. By all means, YES! On your entry, please include information for each collaborator with one artist being the contact.

Q. I'm interested in making the paper to be used on my lantern. Is this permitted?
A. Yes! If you are using means to fully process the contents of the paper to render it harmless to the museum environment, it MAY be used, HOWEVER, you are encouraged to contact deputydirector@cameronarmuseum.org for anything you think may be questionable. We are open to hearing questions about your preferred materials.

Q. May I use battery operated lighting?
A. No. The light source for all lanterns is electric. Accepted entries will receive complete light source with information on how to pickup or receive lighting package. 1) 5w 360 degree illumination (comparable to 50 watt incandescent bulb, 2700K color) used with ceramic socket lamp holder 2) The socket and electric cording equal 6' in length. Bulb alone measures 4" and 1 3/8" diameter. See photos below.