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The MCBA Prize is the first honor to recognize and promote excellence in new work from across the expressive spectrum of book art. Established in 2009, this biennial award is meant to represent the diversity of book art and encourage discussion rather than limit recognition to any one aspect of this vital field. Book art, broadly defined, includes work that embodies narrative, instruction, reference, mapping, guides, documentation, and more. It is work that engages the viewer and propels the experience forward through narrative, sequencing, spatial elements, visual or verbal language, temporal, mechanical, aural, typographic, symbolic or material means.

Forms, processes, traditions and approaches are open. Work may include unique book objects, altered books, graphic novels, ‘zines, concrete poetry, conceptual, visual and literary works. Processes may include any printing or printmaking methods such as photo-mechanical, hand-worked, analog/digital, relief printmaking, letterpress, intaglio, and screen-printing, as well as hand-lettering. Works may be in edition or unique. The finished work can depart from a bound book format to engage metaphors of the book in sculpture or installation. Work can be created collaboratively, but ultimately must result from an artist or artists’ vision and active participation.

In each biennial competition, integrity — a unity of form, materials and content that reflects an artist’s vision — will be a determining criteria in the winning works. The primary impetus for the creation of the work must come from the vision of the artist or artistic collaborators. Related works on paper (broadsides, prints, photographic portfolios), journals or diaries, scrapbooks and blank books will not be considered for the award, nor will video or film unless it is integral to an installation that embodies the qualities described above.

 The juror is charged with narrowing the submissions to 20-30 semi-finalists and five finalists; of these finalists, one winner is then selected.

Semi-finalists and finalists will ship their work to MCBA in July for a standing exhibition in our Main Gallery from August 17th to October 12th, 2024.

The five finalists will be required to participate in a virtual prize reveal on Wednesday, September 18th at 6 pm CT, where the winner will be revealed.

The four finalists will receive a $500 cash prize and the winner will receive at $2,000 cash prize.

The application cost is $35. An artist may submit more than one application for different book projects, but each application is a separate $35 fee.

Please contact Anika Schneider, MCBA's Director of Exhibitions and Artist Programs, with any questions at aschneider@mnbookarts.org

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.