This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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The U.S. Mint announced Aug. 10 that seven new artists have been selected to participate in the Artistic Infusion Program as associate designers. The AIP began in 2003 to help enrich and invigorate the design of U.S. coins and medals, according to the Mint.
A call for artists was issued Aug. 28, 2009, seeking up to 10 associate designers to supplement the current pool of artists under contract in the AIP. Applications were accepted on a rolling basis with three deadlines. The Mint received more than 150 applications from professional visual artists nationwide.
After the first two deadlines of Nov. 9, 2009, and March 8, 2010, an official panel convened at Mint headquarters to review the qualifying applications. The panel was composed of representatives from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and National Gallery of Art, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
After its review and evaluation, the panel recommended four artists after the Nov. 9 deadline and three after the March 8 deadline. The new associate designers are: Paul Cainto Balan of Round Lake Heights, Ill.; Chris Costello of Arlington, Mass.; Barbara Fox of Little Valley, N.Y.; Thomas Hipschen of Arlington, Va.; Frank Morris of Memphis, Tenn.; David Westwood of Lakewood, Calif.; and Gary Whitley of Kelso, Wash.
The final deadline for the 2009-2010 call for artists was July 6. There are three remaining AIP associate designer positions to be filled by the panel.
In the past, AIP artists have submitted successful designs for the 50 State Quarters® Program, American Eagle Platinum Coin Program, Presidential $1 Coin Program, First Spouse Gold Coin and Medal Program, America the Beautiful QuartersTM Program and others.
The AIP was designed to develop and train a pool of talented external artists ready to work with the Mint’s in-house staff of sculptor-engravers to create new coin and medal designs. The sculptor-engravers model the designs submitted by the AIP artists.
There are two levels of artists who may participate in the AIP – master designers and associate designers. Associate designers are eligible for direct promotion to the master designer level after two years in the program. Under AIP provisions, master designers receive $2,500 for each design submitted for consideration, and associate designers receive $2,000. Each artist receives an additional $5,000 per design selected for a coin or medal. All AIP artists are invited to create and submit at least one design candidate annually for a coin or medal program.