Exhibition Entry General Rules and Guidelines

Please read carefully.
The following rules apply to all of the folk-art categories. Contact Zach Row-Heyveld at (563) 382-9681, or zrow-heyveld@vesterheim.org with questions.

Vesterheim thanks Decorah Bank & Trust for sponsoring this exhibition!

Entry Dates

May 1 through May 21, 2017. No entry arriving after 5:00 p.m. on May 21, 2017, will be considered for judging or exhibition.

How to Enter

Please print a registration form (pdf) and completely fill it out with an identification label for each entry. Write a check for entry fees. Pack carefully—UPS guidelines suggest two-inch, non-slip packing materials in all directions between object and box. The identification label must be attached to the object. In the case of weavings, the label must be lightly sewn to the back (no pins or staples please). Please mark your shipping box “Folk Art Exhibition.”

Send entries with forms and check for entry fee and return shipping, to:

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
502 W. Water St., Decorah, IA 52101

Or deliver your entries in person between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m daily to the Westby-Torgerson Education Center (502 W. Water St., Decorah).

Who May Enter

Any living artist who has been a resident of the U.S. or Canada for the past five years and who has not been awarded a Vesterheim Gold Medal may compete for ribbons in the exhibition. Gold Medal winners may compete with regular entrants for Best of Show Award.


There is a limit of two entries per person in each category (rosemaling, weaving, woodworking, knifemaking). Entries must have been completed in the last three years and not entered in any previous Vesterheim exhibition. No items may be sent as “not judged.” Vesterheim reserves the right to withhold from judging and exhibiting artworks that do not sufficiently relate to a Norwegian tradition.

Entry Fees

$15 for each judged piece. There is no fee for submissions by Gold Medalists for Best of Show Award.


The exhibition is in Vesterheim’s Main Building at 520 W. Water St., and open 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Thursday, June 8 - Saturday, July 29. Ribbons will be placed next to winning entries on Thursday, July 27, at 9:00 a.m. When making display decisions, Vesterheim reserves the right to consider the safety of entries first.


In each category, judges award red, blue, and white ribbons accompanied by a cash award and a corresponding number of points.

Points can accumulate over successive exhibitions toward a Gold Medal:

A Blue Ribbon
$60 and 3 points
A Red Ribbon
$40 and 2 points
A White Ribbon
$25 and 1 point

Judges may award more than one ribbon of each color, but they are not required to award any ribbons if submitted work does not meet exhibition standards. An artist who accumulates eight points earns a Gold Medal. Gold Medal winners cannot compete for ribbons in subsequent regular exhibitions, but may submit entries for Best of Show. Gold Medal winners are also eligible to win a People’s Choice Award.

Best of Show Award

One Best of Show Award is given by the judges to the single most exceptional piece of folk art in each judged category (rosemaling, weaving, woodworking, knifemaking).

People’s Choice Award

Visitors to the exhibition may vote for their favorite folk-art piece in each category (rosemaling, weaving, woodworking, knifemaking). The vote is tallied at the end of the final day of exhibition. The winner receives a ribbon. This award carries no points toward a Gold Medal.


For each category there will be two or three judges, including specialists in each area of folk art from Norway and/or America. The judges’ decisions are final. Prize money and/or comments from judges will be mailed about three weeks after the exhibition.


If you so indicate on the registration form, your exhibition piece(s) may be sold. Vesterheim Museum retains 20% of the sale price. The remaining 80% will be mailed to you about three weeks after the exhibition. Iowa sales tax will be collected from the buyer and paid by Vesterheim to the state. Sales will be in the form of a silent auction. The price you indicate on the registration form will be the starting bid amount. Bids must be made in person and will be accepted on pieces from 9:00 a.m. Thurs., July 27, until 4:00 p.m. Sat., July 29. Any entries that were marked “for sale,” but did not receive any bids, can be purchased for the starting bid amount from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Sun., July 30.

Very important: If you indicate that an entry is not for sale (NFS), you still must declare a value on the entry form for insurance purposes.

Return Of Objects

No entry may be removed from the exhibition before 5:00 p.m., Saturday, July 29. Objects may be picked up by the artist between 5:00-7:00 p.m., Saturday, July 29, or 9:00-11:00 a.m. Sunday, July 30, in the exhibition area in the museum’s Main Building, or during the following week between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. in the museum’s Main Building. If you want your entry to be shipped back to you, Vesterheim will bill you after shipping your work back. Exhibited objects that are not picked up and for which no return funds are included, will be returned by UPS or other appropriate service and you will be billed for shipping and insurance costs. For pieces that are sold, the purchaser will be responsible for picking up the object or arranging for shipment.


Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum reserves the right to photograph for educational, promotional, or commercial use any object submitted to the competition. Photography of exhibition entries by the public is permitted for personal, noncommercial use only. Artists have the right to take legal action against any unauthorized commercial use.