Publish date:

How will our design artwork be judged?

The Mint said Friday that it was looking for up to six new artists to be designers in its Artistic Infusion Program.

That’s a good thing.

The new designs that have been created in the last 10 years for the various quarter programs, the nickel redesign and the current four commemorative designs on the cent will be the evidence that future generations will examine to determine what sort of period the United States was experiencing in its numismatic art.

Will we be judged by our posterity as was the period 1907-1917 as being a time of great creativity, or will we be condemned for our modern tendency to grab old designs?

The Ultra High Relief gold $20, the Buffalo gold bullion piece and the earlier Buffalo commemorative silver dollar may be beautiful designs, but they are the product of plundering our artistic past rather than being an expression of our own generation’s artistic creativity.

I know there is a sense among some collectors that any old design is superior to anything new. I think that is unfortunate. It shows a timidity that we will be heartily condemned for.

We could be viewed like the kid in the back of the class who hopes the teacher won’t call on him because he didn’t do his homework.

I hope that won’t happen. Certainly the sheer numbers of state quarter designs give this generation some artistic claims of its own.