The Kentucky Arts Council is organizing an exhibit, The Illustrated Word, which will travel around the state from February 2017 through August 2018. The exhibit will be hosted by various libraries with gallery facilities, and will also be on exhibit in Lexington at Kentucky Crafted: The Market, April 21-23.

The Illustrated Word connects visual art with literature. The artwork may reference a specific piece of writing, or it may include text.

Eligibility: This exhibit is open to all Kentucky residents, age 18 and older.

Artwork must be installation ready for wall hanging, with a depth of no more than 6 inches. It should not exceed 36 inches in height or width, nor be heavier than 25 pounds. Media artists may submit video or film for consideration, but they must provide all of the necessary equipment.

Exhibit Details

  • There is no submission fee.
  • To apply, artists must fill out the online application form and submit digital images, which must be JPEGs of at least 300 dpi, with the longest side of the image approximately 10 inches.
  • The artwork must be original and completed within the last four years.
  • Dimensions, including frame, should not exceed 36 inches in height or width, nor 6 inches in depth. Weight should not exceed 25 pounds.
  • Due to the nature of the various exhibit venues, no artwork containing nudity or of a political or controversial nature will be accepted.
  • The artist may decide whether or not to offer his/her work for sale. The commission may vary between each venue. Buyers will be permitted to remove the artwork at the conclusion of each segment of the exhibit (i.e., before the exhibit travels to the next venue). Artists whose work sells may be asked to provide another piece. An exhibit loan agreement form, which will include the travel schedule and details on each venue, will be sent to all artists whose work(s) are selected for this exhibit. This should be returned to the arts council with the artwork. The arts council will share the loan agreement forms with each venue.
  • If works are accepted, it is the responsibility of the artist to deliver or ship the artwork to the arts council office in Frankfort between Jan. 9 and Jan. 20, 2017. The office will be closed on Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Day.
  • The arts council will transport the artwork to the first venue. Each subsequent venue will transport the work to the next venue. In order to protect the artwork during transport, all work MUST be wrapped in bubble wrap, or other protective wrapping, and packed in a box. Do not use Styrofoam peanuts or shredded paper as packing material. Before submitting a piece for consideration, please make sure that you can provide the appropriate packaging for the piece.
  • All works will be insured by the venue hosting the exhibit, or transporting it, for the entire duration of its travels.

Important Dates

  • Dec. 12 Application deadline
  • Dec. 15 Deadline to submit images
  • Dec. 21 Artists notified of selection
  • Jan. 9-20 Works must be delivered or shipped to the arts council offices (closed on weekends and Jan. 16)
  • Feb. 2017 – Aug. 2018 The Illustrated Word travels around Kentucky
  • September 2018 Works must be picked up from the arts council offices

Application Process

  • For all submissions: Go to
  • Complete the application form. Do not press the Enter/Return key while filling out the form, as this will submit the form prematurely. If this happens, you will have to start over with a new form.
  • Within three days of finishing the application, you will receive an email inviting you to submit digital images to Dropbox, a free, online service for sharing JPEGs and other documents. You will need to create an account if you do not already have one, but it does not require downloading software.
  • Images should be JPEGs of at least 300 dpi, with the longest side of the image around 10 inches.
  • Label the image files using the code IW17, followed by the title of the piece. For example, if the piece is titled “Spring Meadow,” the file name would be: IW17SpringMeadow.jpg. If you submit more than one piece that is untitled, label them sequentially: IW17Untitled1, IW17Untitled2, etc. Please do not use spaces or underscores in the file name.

Acceptance: Artists will be notified of acceptance to the exhibit via email around Dec. 21.

Delivering Your Work: Artwork MUST be packed appropriately for traveling. The exhibit will travel for over 12 months and the artwork will be handled by many individuals. The work MUST be wrapped in foam or bubble wrap and packed in a cardboard box. Do not use packing peanuts or shredded paper.

You may deliver or ship (via USPS, UPS or FedEx) the accepted works to the arts council office, open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

PLEASE NOTE: The arts council is in a new location! Our new office is located at 1025 Capital Center Drive, on the third floor. A map to the new office will be sent with the notification email.

For more information, contact Kate Sprengnether, public art and design director at 502-892-3111 or

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