Illumination 2020

CAMERON ART MUSEUM invites Proposals for Original Lantern Designs

Artist-Made Lantern Juried Exhibition


  • PROPOSAL ACCEPTANCE OPEN: Friday, July 10, 2020
  • PROPOSAL ENTRY DEADLINE: EXTENDED until Monday, September 14 at 12 PM EDT
  • NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE: Via email Friday, September 18 by 11:59 EDT
  • LED lights will be shipped at time of notification, as well as details for completed lantern shipment.
  • DELIVERY of COMPLETED LANTERN: Sunday, November 8 through Wednesday, November 11 between 10 AM-5 PM (work may be shipped or hand delivered)
  • OPENING: Friday, November 20, 2020, 10 AM-7:30 PM. with awards announced after 5 PM
  • PUBLIC EXHIBITION: Saturday, November 21, 2020 - Sunday, January 10, 2021

For the past five years, Illumination 2020, an exhibition of artist-made lanterns, has marked the transition of the season's change and the year's end at CAM. This year, deep in the COVID crisis, we ask artists to examine their own metaphorical concept of light. Luminescence often symbolizes transformation, enlightenment, or an epiphany. Glowing lamplight might remind us of home and safety, the porchlight left on for your return. We talk of our inner light or how someone can light up a room. Candles lit in remembrance show that the memory of a loved one still burns bright. The beam of a lighthouse and an airplane's runway can guide our way. Light makes things visible, sweeping away shadows, and showing what hides in darkness. In your work, through content, style, and choice of material, show us what light means to you.


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


Open to all artists residing in the United States or Canada, age 18 or older. Collaboration between artists is encouraged.


$15 (non-refundable) per entry, unlimited entries per artist.
Accepted Artists to Exhibition receive from CAM:

  • Required LED light source: G4 1.8 watt 360 degree illumination (comparable to 10-15 watt incandescent bulb) used with ceramic socket lamp holder. One bulb per lantern design. Additional bulbs may be allowed - based on design.
  • One ticket to opening and one museum admission valid during Illumination Exhibition.


Completed lanterns are not required for proposal submission. Artists are strongly encouraged to explore contemporary and traditional materials, techniques and aesthetics and collaborate with other artists. Through CAM’s website, submit proposal description text, then upload proposal images saved as a PDF or JPG (not more than 2MB) renamed to lastname_firstname_lantern (FOR EXAMPLE: Smith_John_lantern). Images: For each work, please send 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.


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. Please include: Artist’s statement, summary of studio practice and preferred mediums, biographical statement, CV.


Lighting: All lighting used in lanterns will be LED and will be provided by the museum. No live flames or incandescent lighting or additional lighting will be accepted. Dimensions: All lanterns may be hanging, freestanding, or wall-mounted 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 provided LED lighting installed. Weight is not to exceed 5 pounds for hanging lanterns. Standing lanterns must be freestanding and ready to install. Lanterns may be kinetic, but not motorized, and require no maintenance by museum staff. One bulb per design.

  • 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 feathers, fur, or skins.
  • Handwoven, handspun textiles, fabrics or fibers (including raw cotton) may be allowed upon explanation of treatment of material (see FAQ). Manufactured textiles and fabrics are allowed.


All selected works will be installed and displayed at CAM through January 10, 2021. Images of selected works will be featured on the Cameron Art Museum website. Illumination 2020 juried exhibition will be publicized in regional press releases, social networking sites and via CAM's email list.


$2,500 in Cash prizes. 1st place: $1,500; 2nd place: $750; 3rd place $250.


Work is not required to be for sale. Cameron Art Museum will not manage any sales.


All works are insured while on museum premises. Artist required to insure work in transit.


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


For more information, email deputydirector@cameronartmuseum.org with "artist lanterns" in the subject line.


Cameron Art Museum, 3201 S 17th St., Wilmington, NC
(910) 395-5999


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) The light is a 3 watt LED bulb (equal to a 25 watt incandescent) with a 200 lumens brightness and a deco candelabra base. 2) The socket and electric cording equal 55" in length. Bulb alone measures 4" and 1 3/8" diameter. See photos below.