Deadline: Thursday, February 28, 2019, by 5:00 p.m.

Managed in partnership with the Arts Council for Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific is accepting images via JPEG format to be juried for its upcoming Urban Ocean Festival event. All submitted art pieces should fall under the theme of “Connecting People with the Ocean.” The theme of your work should reflect Southern California’s urban ocean and may include artwork about the ocean, marine life, people acting as ocean stewards, or ocean conservation.

Up to three submissions are welcome. There will be winners in each of the three categories:

  • painting/drawing (may include digital art and collage/mixed media)
  • photography
  • sculpture

One winner selected in each category will receive $500 and his or her winning artwork will be displayed at the festival. One artist will then be selected as the Grand Prize winner and will receive an additional $250. Winning artwork may be selected to be displayed at the Aquarium throughout the anniversary year and later returned to the artist.

Please read the following carefully. Any of the guidelines not followed below may automatically disqualify you from participation in the contest.

To be considered, art MUST be appropriate for a family audience.

Eligibility: The call is open to all emerging artists working in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older to apply. To ensure a diverse representation of artists each year, past contest winners will not be considered.

Submission images must meet the following specifications: File names are the artist’s last name followed by the entry number (i.e. Jones1.jpg). Image files should be in high-resolution JPEG format. Images should be no smaller than 1000 pixels in any direction and 72 dpi. Images must be oriented properly (i.e. top of the image is top of artwork). In your submission, you must include the category you are entering (painting/drawing, photography, or sculpture), its dimensions, and a brief description of the piece and its connection to the theme. Failure to conform to these submission guidelines may result in instant disqualification. Artists submitting fewer than three artworks may use the additional entries to submit secondary images of their entered artworks, such as up-close or detail images of the submitted piece.

Media: Drawings, paintings, printmaking, digital/new media, photography, sculpture, etc., are all possibly valid. We currently cannot support video or sound-based media. Selected pieces must be ready to either display on an easel or stand alone on the ground or tabletop. No pieces will have hanging capabilities. Sculptures must be displayed on a tabletop and must not have any jagged, sharp edges or points. Floor-standing sculptures must be less than 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Please note there will be no access to additional lighting.

Photo submissions that include images of people in which those people are identifiable must have the express permission from the people in the photos to be included in the festival.

Please note that if your artwork is accepted, we will require that you are available to attend the Urban Ocean Festival to set up your display on Saturday, March 30, at 8:00 a.m., and break down on Sunday, March 31, at 5:00 p.m. Artists will be invited to staff their exhibit area to interact with the public and sell artwork. The Aquarium is not liable for any damages incurred throughout install, the process of sales, and de-install. For any sales, 70 percent of net sales go to the artist and 30 percent goes to the Aquarium. More details will be provided once artists have been selected.

The following items are not permitted for sale or display, and therefore should not be included in submitted artwork, except as specifically approved by the Aquarium:

  • Shells and other products from formerly living animals (fur, leather, feathers, coral). These items may be worn or displayed for cultural purposes only.
  • Living creatures.
  • Lighted candles, votives, pyrotechnics and neon glow sticks
  • Balloons
  • Confetti, rice, or sand
  • Food items.

Notification: Artists will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance by email no later than March 15, 2019. You will be notified which piece(s) will be exhibited and receive more details on the Urban Ocean Festival. Please, no phone calls. If you have any questions, please e-mail Claire Atkinson, senior manager of communications, Aquarium of the Pacific, at

Note: Due to the high volume of traffic to the submission form in the last hour before the deadline, those trying to submit artwork at this time may experience errors and risk disqualification. Please try to submit your artwork early in the day to avoid missing the deadline.