2020 MCBA Prize

Exhibition and Awards:

MCBA Prize Award Winner
Winner will receive:

  • $2000 cash prize
  • Essay written by acclaimed curator Betty Bright
  • Featured participation in a virtual award ceremony and artist/curator talk

Four finalists will each receive a $500 cash prize.

Curator Betty Bright will select 20-30 artworks for a virtual exhibition

People’s Book Art Award
Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the public is invited to vote for the People’s Book Art Award online. Ballots will be tallied at the end of the exhibition and the winner will receive a $500 cash prize.


Selection Process:

In each biennial competition, integrity — a unity of form, materials, and content that reflects an artist’s vision — is a determining factor in the winning works. The juror considers the breadth of artistic practices among artists, which include a wide range of media, aesthetics, and traditions that might be influenced by ethnicity, gender, and geography. They will view the digital artwork remotely, selecting 20-30 semi-finalists for a virtual exhibition. Our juror for the 2020 MCBA Prize is Betty Bright.

Betty Bright is a writer, curator and historian who specializes in the contemporary art of the book. She helped to start Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) in 1985, and authored No Longer Innocent: Book Art in America 1960-1980 in 2005. Past involvements include speaking at CODEX (2017), the international biannual book arts fair and symposium; her talk was titled, “Lines of Force: The Hand, The Book, & the Body Electric,” and was later published in the monograph series, CODE(X) + 1.

Currently Bright is co-curating (with Jeff Thomas) Reclamation: Artists’ Books on the Environment, a juried exhibition with catalogue that will open in 2021 at San Francisco Center for the Book and San Francisco Public Library. She is also a contributor to Materialia Lumina, to be published in 2020 by Stanford University, a collection of essays on the seventy-five best books in Stanford’s collections that were acquired from the CODEX book fairs.


2020 Prize Timeline:

February 1, 2020
Application cycle opens

June 1, 2020 (deadline was extended)
Application cycle closes

July 31, 2020
Prize Winner and Finalists notified

August 24, 2020
Finalists’ artwork shipped to MCBA

September 18, 2020
Virtual exhibition opens
Semi-finalists announced
People’s Book Artist Award voting begins

October 23, 2020 | 7–8pm
MCBA Prize Virtual Award Ceremony
(includes artist/curator talk and MCBA Prize winner reveal!)

January 10, 2021
Exhibition closes
People’s Book Artist Award voting closes

An International Artist's Book Award