Call for Art: Minnesota Zoo Hanifl Nature Center Exhibit

At the end of July 2023,the Tree Top Trail will open at the Minnesota Zoo. The Hanifl Nature Center will open simultaneously. A rotating art exhibitwill be featured in the Nature Center. Each exhibit will run for approximately 6 months. The inaugural art exhibit will celebrate trees as a theme.

The call is for residents of Minnesota and the goal is to represent the breadth of high-quality artistic talent across the state.

Please review this context for the exhibit:
Takeaway Messages

Art is an avenue to connect to and explore nature. Trees can inspire artistic expression.  Trees are diverse, complex, and beautiful.  Artists can be inspired by trees in many different ways.


Art that involves trees, depicts trees, is made from trees, or is inspired by trees. Feature diversity of styles and media and mixed media including textiles, paper art, seed art and other use of natural materials such as twigs, bark, leaves, etc. Watercolor, acrylic, oils, ink, block printing, leaf carving, wood carvings, driftwood art, totem art, word art (think state fair fine arts exhibition with a little arts & crafts building and horticulture building thrown in).  Generally fine for some animals to be included in the artwork, but trees should be the dominant subject.


Significance of trees in cultures around the world/trees represented in art styles unique to cultures around the world.

Message: For centuries,cultures around the world have acknowledged, celebrated, and been connected to trees. Trees are a prominent theme, subject, or medium for some world cultures.


  • tree of life artwork
  • tree folk art
  • indigenous tree art such as birch bark biting or others
  • Bodhi tree art
  • Paper cutting or paper folding

What’s inside a tree?/Tree anatomy/parts of a tree

Message: Celebration of the different parts of a tree, both interior and exterior.


  • Scientific/botanical illustrations of tree parts
  • scientific illustrations of inside of a tree at a cellular level
  • macro-or micro-photography
  • tree ring prints
  • a curled up leaf or branch
  • different bark textures

Different types of Minnesota trees/Minnesota tree identification

Message: The diversity of trees in Minnesota can be beautiful. The variety of shapes, colors, and patterns in MN trees is continually inspiring.


  • Artfully arranged collections of seeds, leaves, twigs, etc. Slight nod to museum collection aesthetic.
  • Trees in different Minnesota landscapes
  • Side-by-side art made with different tree species or using different tree species as subjects (e.g. a walnut sculpture/carving contrasted with a cherry sculpture/carving or illustrations of 3 tree species side-by-side)
  • Specific tree species in different landscapes/trees representative of Minnesota biomes –boreal forest, deciduous forest, aspen parklands, prairie oak-savanna, Big Woods –maple-basswood

(Minnesota) trees through the seasons (could include more stylized trees; don’t necessarily have to be artistically identifiable as MN trees)

Message: In Minnesota, trees annually persist through immense seasonal change. Wonder (sometimes fleeting) can be witnessed in trees in all times of the year.


  • celebration of colors, movement, light
  • Trees in different weather
  • The same tree shown in different MN seasons or over time
  • Trees growing in extraordinary places (trees growing out of rocks on the North Shore)

Artwork size may range from 8” x 10” to 48” x 48” and should not be deeper than 12”.

A second opportunity is a mural design to address the aesthetics and subthemes described above. The mural would be printed on vinyl and should cover an area 6’ tall x 15-20’ long.

Each artist may submit up to five pieces.

Please include a jpg. image of the piece identified with:

  • Artist’s name
  • Title
  • Medium
  • Size

Also include artist address, contact information and an artist’s statement.

The deadline for submission is Friday June 9, 2023,at 5 PM central time. Artists will be notified of accepted work by the end of June 2023.

PLEASE NOTE: Artists whose work is chosen are responsible for transporting artwork to Art Force in mid-July and for picking it up after the completion of the exhibit at Art Force. Art Force is in New Brighton. Installation is planned for the third week of July. Artwork must be installation-ready with quality materials and in excellent condition. Questions and submissions should be sent to Leslie Palmer-Ross via email at For large files, please use It is free.

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