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Urban Ocean Art Contest

2020 Contest Guidelines and Entry Form

Cancelled until further notice

Managed in partnership with the Arts Council for Long Beach.

Arts Council for Long Beach logo

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.

Artwork can include the following media:

  • painting/drawing
  • photography
  • sculpture
  • collage and mixed media
  • digital art and photo composites

There will be three winners selected to exhibit their artwork during the Aquarium’s Urban Ocean Festival on May 2 and 3, 2020. From those, one grand prize winner will be selected. Each winner will receive $500 and his or her winning artwork will be displayed at the festival. The grand prize winner will receive an additional $250.

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 1,000 pixels in any direction and 72 dpi. Images must be oriented properly (i.e. top of image is top of artwork). In your submission, you must include the medium of your artwork, 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 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, May 2, at 8:00 a.m., and break down on Sunday, May 3, 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 April 17, 2020. 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.

Urban Ocean Art Contest Submission Form


First Submission

Second Submission

Third Submission



If you have trouble with your submission and receive an error message, your image files are probably too large. Please make them 1MB or smaller and try sending in your work again. You should receive a confirmation of your submission via email. Please check your spam folder.

Rules and Regulations
From 9:00 A.M. Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, through 5:00 P.M. Pacific Time on Friday, April 10, 2020, the Aquarium of the Pacific will host an Urban Ocean Art Contest. All entries will be judged by a panel of judges determined by the Aquarium. Winners will be notified by email no later than April 17, 2020. NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO BE CONSIDERED. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. All entrants must be at least 18 years of age. All entries that do not meet display specifications or file size requirements or are received after the deadline will be disqualified. Employees, volunteers, and board members of the Arts Council for Long Beach and Aquarium of the Pacific and their family/household members are not eligible. Prize is nontransferable and must be accepted as awarded. No cash or other substitution may be made, except by the Aquarium of the Pacific. All entrants give full rights to the Aquarium of the Pacific to promote and publish their name and artwork in conjunction with the contest. All entrants release the Aquarium of the Pacific, their affiliates, parents, subsidiaries, directors, officers, employees and agents, and all others associated with the development and execution of this contest, from any and all liability from injury, loss or damage of any kind, including death, and property, due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, resulting from participation in this promotion or acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize. Void where prohibited by law. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply.