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Ekphrastic Celebration

Purple Urchin

An Art Exhibition
Ekphrastic Poetry Competition

In the Purple Urchin Online Gallery

The exhibition is now open, and poetry submissions are now closed.

Due to stipulations in our funding, this is a local competition. All artists, poets and judges must live in Nanaimo. The small pool of entries means more chances to win! This competition is open to NAC members and non-members.

Poets will respond to artworks in this exhibition. Local judges will award prizes to the top poems, and to the artworks their poems are about.

Ekphrastic Poems may include literal descriptions of a work of art, the poet’s mood in response to a work of art, metaphorical associations inspired by a work of art, or personal memories triggered by a work of art.

Phase 1: Artwork selection

The NAC Board of Directors’ Selection Committee will select twenty-five works of art by twenty-five artists for this exhibition.

Art submissions open:                  April 1
Art submissions close:                 April 30
Exhibition opens:                          May 10

Phase 2: Poets respond to the artwork

Once the exhibition is open, poets may write poems responding to the artwork, and submit these poems to the judges. Poems must be about a work in this exhibition.

Poetry submissions open:           May 12
Poetry submissions close:           June 6

Judging and Prizes:

Two local judges will select the top four poems, and prizes will be awarded in a closing ceremony on June 24.

The artworks the poems are about will also win prizes.

There is no requirement for the top poems to be from different authors, nor that they be about different artworks. Thus it is possible that individual poets or artists may win more than one prize.

  • Poetry first place: $350, associated artwork: $300
  • Poetry second place: $250, associated artwork: $200
  • Poetry third place: $150, associated artwork: $100
  • Fourth place poem and associated artwork: certificate of
    honourable mention

Art Submission Procedures and Rules

  • Entry Fee for visual art: $10 per artwork.
  • Up to three entries per person are allowed, but please note that only one work per artist will be selected for exhibition. Entry fees are non-refundable.
  • Individuals may enter as artists or as poets, but not as both.
  • Quality of the photos will be one factor in selecting artworks for exhibition.
  • Please review the Guidelines for submission procedures, photography tips, and other details and requirements.
  • Work may be for sale, if you wish.
  • 30% commission on sales through the site. Packaging and delivery costs are not included in the sale price, and must be arranged between purchaser and artist

Poetry Submission Procedures and Rules

  • Entry Fee for poetry: $10 per poem.
  • Multiple entries permitted, up to three entries per person. All poems will be considered by the judges.
  • Individuals may enter as artists or as poets, but not as both.
  • Poems must be no longer than 30 lines.
  • Poems must be about a work in this exhibition.
  • Poems must be your own original work, and previously unpublished.
  • All poetry submissions must be formatted with 12 pt, Times Roman font, double spaced.
  • Poets age 18 and above may enter.


Privacy: Your privacy is assured, and your personal details will only be used for the purposes of this contest. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Copyright: You retain the copyright to your work. By entering this contest, you agree to give Nanaimo Arts Council a nonexclusive license to publish your work online and in electronic media such as our newsletter.

Employees and board members of the Nanaimo Arts Council are not eligible to enter this competition.

Poetry submissions are now closed.




Hanging Date: October 15, 2020
Time: 10:00 am
Location: Port Theatre

We are excited to announce that the Art around Town show at the Port Theatre is now open for registration!

  • Art Around Town is open only to Nanaimo Art Council members

  • Renew your membership at https://www.nanaimoartscouncil.ca/join

  • This exhibit is 2-D work only and will show for approximately 3 months

  • Work will be juried by the Hanging Committee on the day of hanging

  • Work must be for sale. Commission is 30%

  • Due to space limitations, outside dimensions must be NO LARGER THAN 36 inches in the longest dimension

  • All work must be hanging ready, appropriately framed or finished with braided-wire hangers and the artist name, medium, title of work, and price firmly affixed to the back of the art

  • Space is limited so only one piece per artist will be hung

Entrants are required to register before October 12 using the form below.
Note that registration is necessary. Due to space limitations, we will limit the number of entries to 25.  Those not pre-registered will not have their work accepted.