AIP Artist Joe Fitzgerald autographed this 2005 Westward Journey Nickel. They used his design.

AIP Artist Joe Fitzgerald autographed this 2005 Westward Journey Nickel. They used his design.

In an interesting move, the U.S. Mint has partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to judge and select artists for the Artistic Infusion Program (AIP). Since its establishment in 2003, AIP artists have submitted many successful designs for all types of coins. One of my favorites of the last 10 years, the obverse of the 2005 Westward Journey Nickel, was designed by AIP artist Joe Fitzgerald.

Not to take anything away from the U.S. Mint’s sculptor and engravers, the infusion of outside talent does help with design as long as the law authorizing the coin does not handcuff the design process by specifying the design or elements of the design. Left to their own creative abilities, the U.S. Mint and AIP artists have produced some very good designs.

Are you an artist? Do you have what it takes to design coins and medals? Remember, this is paid gig with artists receiving $2000-3000 per submission, depending on years active in the AIP program. Those whose designs are selected to be used on a coin or medal will receive an additional $5000. This is money on top of your other work, so you do not have to quit your day job!

Aside from being paid, your initials will appear on all of the coins produced from your designs and your name will be recorded in numismatic history. In years to come, new collectors will open their reference guides and see the name of the artist who designed their coins. While some artists work are sometimes lost to history, this is one way to make your mark on the world by designing a United States coin.

Do you think you have what it takes? Then read the “CALL FOR ARTISTS” release from the NEA. Application deadline is January 10, 2014. Also note that applications will only be accepted at Make sure you read the “How to Prepare and Submit an Application” information.

If you do submit an application, please let me know. I would be interested in tracking your progress and writing about it for everyone to read.

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