Call Detail
Christmas Nativity Art - 2024 exhibition

Entry Deadline: 9/13/24
Days remaining to deadline: 93
Number of Applications Allowed: 3

Entry Fee (Entry Fee): $5.00
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 3, Maximum:Max. 5
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 3, Maximum:Max. 5
Call Type: Exhibitions
Eligibility: National
State: Texas
Event Dates: 12/14/24 - 12/15/24

For its fourth exhibition, Crèche Festival Houston will display original artwork which explores, depicts, or interprets Christ’s nativity for the juried and judged exhibition: Unique & Unexpected.

The adjectives “unique” and “unexpected” may refer to the various and alternative materials utilized in your nativity; or the setting of or the environs of your nativity; or the various characters or features of the characters in your nativity; or the use of Christian symbolism in your nativity. What is unique and unexpected about your nativity to the viewer?

Unleash your creativity to surprise the viewer by presenting a unique and unexpected interpretation of Christ’s nativity. Perhaps it is the nativity’s shape or materials used or where the birth of Christ is located or positioned or who/what are included or present with the Holy Family or what imagery or symbols establish deep meaning. The artist’s aim should be to create a nativity which in the viewer’s eyes will be both unique and unexpected.

Cash prizes will be awarded. Selected artists may choose to participate in an online auction of their selected work.


Rev. Johann Roten, S.M. – International Marian Research Institute, University of Dayton

The Rev. Johann Roten, S.M., is an internationally recognized scholar and authority on Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Father Roten is familiar with how faith and the church intersect in diverse cultures and countries, in dimensions ranging from the political to the artistic. This knowledge has deepened his special interest for how artists throughout the world use alternative materials to interpret the birth of Christ, and to express their faith and cultural perspective in the form of nativities, also called crèches. Father Roten has authored books and writings on the crèche, as well as developed workshops on crèche art.

Marie Romero Cash – folk artist

Marie Romero Cash is a celebrated folk artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her award-winning, whimsical one-of-a-kind creations are in demand by collectors of all ages. Marie has participated in the annual Spanish Market in Santa Fe for over forty-five years and in the International Folk Art Market. As a saint maker (Santera), she has created art for numerous churches in the Southwest and in Mexico, including the fifteen Stations of the Cross for the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her works are in the collections of the Museum of International Folk Art, the Albuquerque Museum, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, the Smithsonian Institute, The Vatican, The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and numerous private collections. Marie was the recipient of the Grand Prize in the 2023 Crèche Festival Houston’s Christmas Nativity Art competition. Ms. Cash is represented by PeytonWright Gallery in Santa Fe.

N. Elizabeth Schlatter – curator and pottery maker

Elizabeth has extensive experience as a leader in museums, art, ceramics, higher education, and learned societies. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she has served as president of two non-profit boards, engaged in shared governance in an academic setting, and is experienced with strategic planning, fundraising, and mentorship. As a curator and writer, she focuses on modern and contemporary art and topics related to leadership, curating, and issues specific to university museums. She has curated and juried more than thirty exhibitions of contemporary art, most recently “Rendered Fusion: Clay, Connection, Attention.” for the NCECA 2024 Annual Conference (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts). Her publications include, “Museum Careers: A Practical Guide for Students and Novices,” Routledge Press; exhibition catalogs, and articles in professional arts and museums publications. She is past president of the College Art Association (CAA, from 2020-2022), the 110-year-old learned society for visual art and history. Elizabeth resides in Richmond, Virginia.


A Grand Prize in the cash amount of $1,000.00 will be awarded.

Two additional cash prizes in the amount of $500.00 each will be awarded: one for creativity and one for the best use of Christian liturgical symbolism/imagery.

Additional ribbons will be awarded for Honorable Mention recognition.

Prizes will be announced at an evening artist reception (attendance encouraged, not required) on December 13.

Site of Exhibition

The festival’s exhibition will be in the Parish Hall on the Rice Village campus of Christ the King Lutheran Church on December 14 & 15, 2024, located at 2353 Rice Boulevard in Houston, Texas. Christ the King Lutheran Church is a welcoming and inclusive community nourished by Christ in vibrant worship and committed to God’s mission of love and service especially to the oppressed and to the poor.

Online Auction

Artists selected for the exhibition may choose to participate in the festival’s online auction selling their work. The artist will receive 80% of the sale proceeds and Crèche Festival Houston will retain 20% of the sale proceeds to benefit Bright Stars of Bethlehem (, a program supported by Christ the King Lutheran Church (Houston) in Bethlehem, Palestine. The online auction will open for bidding on December 13, 2024, and close December 18, 2024. In the 2023 auction 40% of the art was sold. Sale prices ranged from $150.00 to $3500.00. Many of the artworks were sold for an average price of $250.00 each.

Important Dates:

Submit application and photographic images by September 13, 2024.

Artists will be notified of selection/non-selection of work by October 1, 2024.

Selected artwork to be shipped to Crèche Festival Houston by October 4, 2024, or hand delivered on Saturday, October 5, 2024.

Reception for artists and announcement of prize winners (attendance encouraged but not required) December 13, 2024.

Unique & Unexpected: A Crèche Festival is Saturday, December 14 & Sunday, December 15, 2024.

Shipping of artwork not sold in auction and requested to be returned to artist by December 31, 2024. 

Questions and requests for additional information:

Email –

Crèche Festival Houston is an all-volunteer organized and executed project which began in November 2021. The project produces an annual exhibition of nativities displaying the diversity of crèche art from around the world. A different exhibition is presented each year: Finding Bethlehem (2021); Crafting Tradition (2022); Hands of the People (2023). Crèche Festival Houston has a presence in social media on Facebook (Creche Festival Houston) and Instagram (creche_festival_houston).


Regarding Christian symbolism/imagery

Symbols are the sign language of man. Christian symbolism and seasonal observances are the sign language of Christian faith. Christian symbolism is the use of symbols invested with an inner meaning expressing Christian ideas (Brown, 1958). “While the language of representational art is familiar to most people, the language of symbolism is somewhat different. In contrast to representation, the purpose of symbolism is not so much to show the animal, plant, or object itself, but to lead through these things to another deeper thought or idea" (Wetzler & Huntington, 1962).

Consider these or other resources to learn more about Christian symbolism and imagery:

Brown, Jr., Edgar S. (1958). Symbols and terms of the church. Muhlenberg Press.

Dilasser, Maurice. (1999). The symbols of the church. Liturgical Press. 

Gouker, Louis. (1964). Dictionary of church terms and symbols. C.R. Gibson Company.

Moe, Dean L. (1985). Christian symbols handbook. Augsburg Fortress Publishing.

Rest, Fredrich. (1954). Our Christian symbols. Pilgrim's Press.

Wetzler, Robert & Huntington, Helen. (1962). Seasons and symbols: A handbook on the church year. Augsburg Publishing House.

Application Requirements

There is a $5.00 (five dollar) fee for each application of artwork. Artwork will be chosen from photographic images.

An artist statement of less than 400 words of your artist story is required.

Answers to six additional questions are required. 

Eligibility Criteria

This year’s call for entries is open to all (individuals and collectives) within the United States. All media is accepted – mixed media, assemblage, digital, painting, ceramics, woodworking, metal/enamel, drawing, textile, glass, needlepoint, embroidery, film, etc.

In 2023, 47 applications were received, with six countries represented. Of those, 37 applications and three countries represented were invited to participate in the festival. This year up to 30 applicants will be invited to participate.

Artists who have participated in previous Crèche Festival Houston exhibitions, whether they received honors or not, are eligible to participate in this year’s call for entries.

Work should include at least the Holy Family – Mary, mother of Jesus, the Christ child, and Joseph.

Questions and requests for additional information:

Email –