A Call for Artists, Musicians, Poets & Writers

The Amherst Center Cultural District is sponsoring a contest for artists in all mediums to express their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $4000 in cash and gift certificates will be distributed to winners in various categories. The ACCD has received a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) last fall to develop this year’s ARTWeek programming but has decided to distribute the funds directly to artists. The MCC is permitting its grantee organizations to repurpose those grants as they deem most appropriate.

The impact of COVID-19 continues to broadly affect every aspect of life around the world. Artists can best communicate, express and decipher complicated and challenging times. Where and how we live, eat, work, communicate, reflect, stay informed, vote, stay healthy, provide for ourselves and our family, stay sane and balanced and resilient are daily, even hourly concerns. We are experiencing this together, but every experience is not the same.

Our goal with this contest is to ensure all artists are seen and heard. The ACCD board recognizes that racism is a public health crisis. We also recognize that COVID-19 has greater impact on people of color,  low-income individuals, the disabled and we encourage submissions from traditionally underrepresented communities.

Who Is Eligible?

You are eligible to apply to this contest if you fulfill the following requirements:

  • You are an artist working in any discipline and you are aged 18 or older;
  • You work or have worked in Amherst, and/or your creative work has been exhibited or performed in Amherst; and
  • You certify that the virus has impacted the income you have expected from your creative work this year.

The Entries

Your artistic entry can be in any medium as long as it conveys your response to COVID-19.  We highly encourage artists who identify as people of color, LGBTQIA+, disabled or from a minority or underrepresented demographic to apply. 

The work must be able to be viewed or heard online for a virtual exhibition or performance in the fall. At an appropriate point, the ACCD hopes to exhibit or have the work performed “live.” Only one entry is allowed per artist. There is NO entry fee.

Please reach out if you need help applying.

The work could be any 2-dimensional art, photography, sculpture or art installation, musical performance, poetry, essay or other writing, or other creative response to the pandemic. Submission requirements are detailed below.


  • 2-dimensional art (painting, photography, chalk art, etc.)
  • Sculpture or art installation
  • Musical or dance performance
  • Poetry or written word
  • Other

Important Dates

  • June 22: Announcement of ACCD COVID-19 Contest.
  • Aug. 22: Deadline for Submission, please fill out form and submit your work ( jpeg/tiff, pdf of written work, or link to music, dance, spoken word).
  • Sept. 7: Announcement of Winners
  • Sept. 15: Announcement of Online Exhibition

The Awards

  • Grand Prize – $375
  • First Prizes in 5 categories – $250 each
  • Second Prize in 5 categories  – $175 each
  • Third Prize in 5 categories – $100 each
  • Honorable Mentions 20 – $50 gift certificates

The Jury

Decisions on all awards will be made by a subcommittee of the ACCD board of directors and creatives in the community appointed by the board.

Submission Guidelines

  • Visual art must be submitted in jpeg or png format with the longest side being 7 inches; resolution no less than 100 dpi.
  • Video submissions (e.g. dance performances) must be either linked to YouTube or submitted in Vimeo format, no longer than 10 minutes in length.
  • Filmed musical performances must be no longer than 10 minutes in length, linked and submitted via YouTube, Vimeo, BandCamp or
    other platform with original lyrics (if any) submitted as accompanying Word document.
  • Poetry & Writing must not exceed 1,000 words.
  • Submit entry using Application Form: by July 15th.
  • Submit work by email to [email protected] by midnight, Aug. 22.

Please use that email if you have any questions or need help submitting your application.

Team VoW
Author: Team VoW

Valley of Writers provides resources, tools, ideas and training for new writers. We work with a writers and contributors based around the world. Our primary focus is to equip new writers with skills to help them reach new audiences and achieve their goals.

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