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State Historical Society of Iowa
Pile of eight covers of The Annals of Iowa publication featuring artwork by Iowa artists

Call for Cover Art

The Annals of Iowa seeks submissions from Iowa artists for artwork to be published on the 2025 covers of the state's historical journal. This opportunity is administered by the State Historical Society of Iowa.


Submission Deadline

The deadline to submit an application to the program is 11:59 p.m. on August 26, 2024 for the winter, spring, summer, and fall 2025 covers.

Selection Notification

Applicants will be notified of selection decisions by October 7, 2024.

Publication Dates

Four artworks will be selected; each featured on either the winter, spring, summer, or fall 2025 cover of The Annals of Iowa. The publication dates below are approximate.

  • Winter publication: January 2025 (production deadline November 15)
  • Spring publication: April 2025 (production deadline February 15)
  • Summer publication: July 2025  (production deadline May 15)
  • Fall publication: October 2025 (production deadline August 15)

Project Background

State Historical Society of Iowa

The State Historical Society of Iowa has been a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy since 1857. With a dual mission of preservation and education, it maintains a museum, two research centers, preservation office, and seven historic sites. The society preserves and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources through a variety of statewide programs, exhibitions and projects while serving as an advocate for Iowa’s past and connector to the future.

Annals of Iowa

The Annals of Iowa is a quarterly publication that examines the deeds, misdeeds, and accomplishments of our predecessors and shows how those actions fit into the larger mosaic of Iowa's history. This thought-provoking journal will satisfy even the most serious explorer of the state’s past. The journal, established in 1863, is distributed quarterly to hundreds of subscribers throughout the United States and Canada, and its digital footprint is even larger, with more than 3 million downloads from readers throughout the globe, including over 1 million downloads in 2023.

Project Details and Budget

Artists may submit up to three (3) artworks for publication consideration on the cover of The Annals of Iowa. The State Historical Society will accept submissions of existing artwork as well as proposals for new artwork. Artwork should visually represent Iowa’s rich history, including consideration of the diverse perspectives that shaped the state today.

The selected artists will each be paid $500 inclusive of all costs associated with the project, including but not limited to: research, professional consultations, materials and creation, documentation, and the rights to reproduce the artwork in both the print and digital publications of The Annals of Iowa.

A successful project proposal should:

  • Translate well to a static, two-dimensional reproduction on the 9x6-inch cover of The Annals. The original artwork may be larger than these dimensions, but a digital representation of the work must be appropriately scalable to the size of the cover with or without a bleed.
  • Represent Iowa’s rich history, including consideration of the diverse perspectives that shaped the state today.
  • Reflect the mission of the State Historical Society of Iowa to serve as an advocate for Iowa’s past and connector to the future.

Additional project considerations:

  • If selected, the artist must provide a high-quality JPG or TIFF image file set at 300 DPI or higher using a CMYK color profile as the final image of the artwork for publication. If necessary, selected artists will be expected to re-document the work and edit the digital file before submitting for publication.
  • The cover artwork can be full color and may be designed as a bleed or with a border. If a cropped image of the artwork is used, the full composition of the artwork will be printed inside the issue’s cover to retain the integrity of the original work.
    • Note: Though not required, it is helpful for reviewers when artists submit work samples already cropped to the cover dimensions of 9x6 inches.
  • The artwork will not wrap to the spine or back cover. A solid color for the spine and back cover will be chosen to complement the selected artwork.
  • The State Historical Society of Iowa will have final approval of The Annals of Iowa cover design, which will include the selected artwork with overlaid text of the publication title, edition information, date, and subtitle (see template at the end of these guidelines). Overlaid text can be printed in black or white and the layout will be adjusted as needed. Translucent bounding boxes, strokes or drop shadows may be utilized to increase text readability. To retain Annals of Iowa branding, please note that fonts will not be changed.
  • Past examples of Annals of Iowa cover artwork can be viewed online.


This call for artwork is open to Iowa artists 18 and older. Preference will be given to artists who have not yet been featured on a cover of the journal. Individuals must be current residents of Iowa, physically residing in the state per Iowa Code 422.4 and Iowa Administrative Code 701.38.17 (422).

The State Historical Society of Iowa encourages artists of all experiences and backgrounds to apply.

Online Submission

Applicants must submit proposals via the 2025 Annals of Iowa Cover Art Application on Google Forms. Late, incomplete or ineligible applications will not be accepted. Please see the “Questions” section below for technical support submitting an application or to request an alternative application process.

Application Requirements

For artwork to be considered, interested artists must submit the following information and materials by the deadline via the online application.

  • Artist Biography: Submit a brief artist biography.
  • Artist Statement: Provide a brief artist statement for your work. The statement should be no more than 3 sentences and should describe the overarching vision for the artist's work overall, not for a specific project.
  • Work Sample Description(s): Include the title, medium, dimensions, year completed, and a detailed description of how the artwork represents Iowa history. If you will need time to re-document the work for print, please also indicate that in this section.
  • Work Samples: Artists may submit up to 3 images for consideration for the cover art. Please title each artwork with your last name, first name, and artwork title using the following format: Last-First-Title
    • Email your submissions to by the application deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 26, 2024.
    • Note: Work samples do not need to be high quality image files ready for publication. Artists will be provided adequate time, if needed, to re-document the work for print. If you need time to re-document any of your work samples, please indicate that in the "Description of Work Sample" sections in this application.

Selection Process and Evaluation Criteria

A selection committee comprised of representatives from the State Historical Society of Iowa and Iowa’s creative community will review submissions and evaluate based on the following criteria:

  • Appropriateness of the artwork’s subject, medium and style as they relate to the project constraints and goals
  • Unique artistic perspective, authentic relationship with subject matter, and understanding of craft as evidenced by the work sample and description
  • Representation of Iowa’s rich history, including consideration of the diverse perspectives that shaped the state today

Applicants will be notified of selection decisions by October 7, 2024.

Artwork submitted to previous Annals of Iowa calls for cover artwork will be considered in each subsequent review.

The State Historical Society of Iowa reserves the right to reject any or all applications or proposals, to reject any finalist, or to terminate the selection process for any project without prior notice.

Copyright and License

Selected artists will retain copyright to their work and will grant the State Historical Society of Iowa an unlimited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce the artwork, in whole or with modification(s), in both the print and digital publications of The Annals of Iowa and in marketing materials promoting the journal.

Cover Templates and Examples

Transparent templates are available in both black and white text to assist artists in visualizing how their image will look on the cover. Artists are welcome to submit their work samples with the overlaid template, but it is not required. Please see the “Project Details and Budget” section for full layout specifications.

Examples of past Annals of Iowa covers featuring original artwork can be viewed online.


Interested artists are encouraged to review all published material. For questions or support submitting an application, please contact Lindsay Keast at or 515-281-8352.