Call Detail
2019 Athenaeum Invitational
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Entry Deadline: 8/2/19
Application Closed

Entry Fee (2019 Athenaeum Invitational): $40.00
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 3
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 3
Call Type: Exhibitions
Eligibility: Regional
State: Virginia
Event Dates: 9/12/19 - 11/10/19

The Athenaeum Invitational celebrates the visual arts of Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and West Virginia in the Athenaeum Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It is a theme-based event featuring the works of both specially-invited artists who have exhibited in the Athenaeum Gallery in the past, as well as works selected through a call for submissions open to anyone living or working in VA/DC/MD/WV.  A $1500 prize for the best work will be awarded to an invited artist, a $1000 prize will be awarded to an artist from the open call, a $500 prize will be awarded based on core concept and game design, and a viewers' choice award of $500 will be determined by popular vote.

The 2019 Athenaeum Invitational: Board: out of our minds!

From a purely aesthetic perspective, artists can submit work that relates in any way to board games which might explore a real or imagined board game, an environment where board games are being played, or people playing board games. Or artists may wish to develop a board game using their style and media of choice.

The possibilities are endless — games as a means of dealing with social issues or escaping reality; games as a reflectioin of a labyrinth or path to justice.  Perhaps a game might be way to explore the world or experience other cultures. Entries might be inspired by childhood memories of Candyland and Monopoly or today’s issues such as climate change or political rancor.  Have fun with the very concept of a game. 

While this is an open call for an art exhibition, entries that demonstrate creative brilliance through the core concept and game design are encouraged – as long as the end result can be hung on a wall with picture hooks and communicates the general idea or a particular aspect of the game with no more than a 750 word description.

All entries need to be wired to be hung on a wall with nails and picture hooks. Ancillary hand-out materials will be available to visitors with the up to 750 word description/explanation (optional). Works may be two- or three-dimensional, but may not protrude from the wall by more than six inches and may not weigh more than 20 pounds.

  • All entries must include a brief statement how the work relates to the theme or a brief (750 word) description of the key concepts of the game.

Selection Criteria 

Artists who live or work in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia may enter.  Works will be chosen that show aesthetic excellence, mastery of media, creativity, thoughtfulness and relevance to the theme by submitting a brief artist statement. Entries will also be evaluated on creative concept and game design.

Artwork Specifications

  • Work must be available from September 9 – November 10, 2019.
  • All visual media is welcome, but every work must be wall-mounted. 
  • All works must arrive wired and ready to be hung with picture hooks.
  • Work must be less than 6 inches deep.
  • Painting, drawing, collage, etc. must be framed or fully finished, wired, and ready to hang on picture hooks. 
  • Sculpture must be less than 6 inches deep and lighter than 20 pounds.
  • Works that require electricity will not be accepted.
  • Entries that do not comply with the rules will be disqualified.


The artist is responsible for getting, or arranging to have their work delivered, to the Athenaeum Gallery by Monday, September 9, 2019 between ten and three in the afternoon.

The artist is responsible for removing unsold works from the gallery on Sunday, November 10, between 4 and 5:30 pm.

The Athenaeum is not responsible for works left in the gallery after the close of the show.


The Athenaeum Gallery will retain a 40% commission on works sold, and will issue a check for 60% of the sales price to the artist no longer than thirty days after the show has closed. Sold work remains in the gallery until the last day of the show. Work does not have to be for sale to be included in the show.


All works in the show will be insured by the Athenaeum Gallery for 100% of the retail price or stated value from September 12 - November 10, 2019.

Key Dates:

  • Submission deadline is August 1, 2019
  • Accepted artists will be notified by August 8, 2019 via email
  • Entries need to be delivered to the gallery, Monday, September 9 between 10 am and 3 pm
  • The run of the show is September 12 - November 10
  • Opening reception is Sunday, September 15, 4 - 6 pm
  • All unsold works need to be removed on Sunday, November 10, between 4 - 5:30 pm
About the Athenaeum

The Athenaeum Gallery is the headquarters of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association (NVFAA).  Founded in 1964, the NVFAA is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all forms of art, and to establishing programs that will enrich the cultural life of Northern Virginia and the surrounding metropolitan area. The Athenaeum Gallery exhibits work created solely by artists living or working the region and strives to present visitors with a wide variety of excellent work and unique experiences.