Starved Rock Country Festival of the Arts seeks art, film entries

Calling all artists: The Arts of Starved Rock Country Fund has announced 2021′s inaugural Starved Rock Country Festival of the Arts, or FOTA for short. The three-day juried competition and town-wide celebration of the arts will be held in Ottawa from Sept. 24 to 26.

The new juried visual arts and film competition is soliciting entries from artists working in a wide variety of mediums. Entrants will be competing for cash prizes awarded by professional judges in several distinct categories.

Visual works will be on display throughout the beautiful riverfront community, while live music acts will be performing at two separate stages, alongside daily short and feature film screenings. Fun and accessible activities will even be offered for all the young artists in attendance.

Artists from the Starved Rock Country area and beyond are encouraged to submit their most exemplary work in one of the following juried categories: ceramics, drawing, 2D, fiber, glass/metal work, painting, photography, sculpture/3D, and wood. Renowned judges from around the state have been invited to review the submitted pieces. A prize of $500 is awarded to one artist per category, along with a “Best in Show” prize of $1,000.

Artists will be required to submit a concise statement describing their materials used and techniques employed, up to 300 characters in length. In addition, they are required to upload up to five images for each submitted piece. Images must represent the work that will be exhibited at the FOTA. Only completed pieces will be accepted. Photos can be JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, but must be under 4MB.

All accepted artists will be notified on Sept. 1. At this point, the artist may choose to pay for a vendor booth that will be presented alongside other artists, where they can show and sell their work. Each artist will be provided a 10-by-10-foot space in downtown Ottawa. Artists are to provide their own tent, weights, display table, chairs and easels. At these booths, artists retain all revenue from the sale of their work. Starved Rock Country Community Foundation will not receive commission on any sales. To submit your work, and to see a full list of rules and regulations, visit

In addition to the traditional juried art showcase, FOTA seeks entries for its Narrative Film Fest, located at the historic Roxy movie theater in Ottawa. The programming block will feature 12 narrative features and 24 narrative shorts to round out the official selection of the first Festival of the Arts. Both the narrative feature and short categories will give away cash prizes for Judges Awards and People’s Choice Awards. Visit for more information and to submit your film.


  • July 26 Application deadline
  • Aug. 23 Late application deadline
  • Aug. 24-30 Online jury
  • Sept. 1 Confirmation sent to artists
  • Sept. 7 Deadline to accept invitation, turn in waiver of liability, pay vendor fee
  • Sept. 7 Deadline to cancel
  • Sept. 13 Deadline to deliver accepted juried artwork to judging location
  • Sept. 14-23 Installation of final juried artwork in judging location
  • Sept. 24-26 Starved Rock Country FOTA Show
  • Sept. 25 Award jury viewing in Ottawa

Be sure to follow FOTA - Starved Rock Country Festival of the Arts on Facebook for more updates and event details.