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Conservation in the West Vintage Poster Contest


The Federal Art Act of 1937, among other things, helped promote the visitation of residents and international tourists to a newly created National Parks system.  Last summer, the number of visitors and the number of parks visited more than doubled than in years past.  Today, the message to visitors and outdoor recreationists, would be a different one if we were to create new promotional posters for visiting our national lands.

1930s poster

National Parks poster

The State of the Rockies Conservation in the West Poll surveys people in the 8-state Rocky Mountain Region about their attitudes toward public land conservation and other current environmental, social, and political issues we face living in the West.  The poll consistently demonstrates a growing desire to protect our nationally designated public spaces.

"We’re seeing strong voter concern for nature, which is translating into calls for bold action on public lands in the West,” said State of the Rockies Project director Katrina Miller-Stevens, a Colorado College economics professor.  “If federal and state policy leaders are looking for direction on public lands, the view from the West is clear," said Miller-Stevens.

2021 poll respondents are concerned for the future of nature.  Protection of water, land, and wildlife continue to be important to Rocky Mountain resident voters -- loss of wildlife habitat is considered an extremely serious problem. Two-thirds of sampled western voters want Congress to protect public lands and the "outdoor way of life" from energy development.  When asked, 69% of poll participants want Congress to focus more on protecting sources of clean water, air and habitat than on ensuring we produce more domestic energy. 


Students will create vintage style digital posters with contemporary conservation/environment "mottos."  This Bryce Canyon National Park poster is an example of a poster created during the Federal Art Project; the old vintage poster now recreated as what students may come up with using their own imaginations and by exploring the survey results on public and national lands.  Of course, this mock-up is more of a spoof; but witty text and images would be welcome.  The direction each student goes is only bound by the topics covered in the poll that deal with conservation of public lands.  We will print the winning posters and hope to collaborate with the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum to exhibit the collection of letterpress and digitally-created posters.

2021 mock up poster
EXAMPLE of a 2021
Student VINTAGE poster


The State of the Rockies project invites students to submit a digital image of a vintage-style poster of a national park, monument, or forest in the 8-state Rocky Mountain region that includes a contemporary conservation message.   Your submission must include an explanation of why or how your contemporary conservation motto is relevant to current conservation attitudes of residents in the 8-state Rocky Mountain West (highlighted in the Conservation in the West 2021 poll and how or why your motto is relevant to the national park, monument, forest, you chose.  Please submit a 150-word maximum justification for choosing the place you chose -- explain to us why, how, and/or what conservation efforts are critical for the future of the public space your poster represents. 

Please SUBMIT your entry to by midnight December 15, 2021, BLOCK 4 Week 4. Use CC OneDrive to share large files.

1st Place $700
2nd Place $500
3rd Place $250 

WINNERS notified J-Block


Judges will choose winning posters based on the following criteria:

1. How well your conservation motto and justification relate to conservation concerns reported by recent Conservation in the West poll findings.
2. Composition of poster
3. Creative use of the historical national park poster style
4. Use of color
5. Impact of message


  • Files must be in jpeg or png format.
  • Posters should be at least 11” x 17”, but can be larger. Choose a size that works for your composition.
  • Resolution of files should be 600 dpi (we need high-res files so that we can print them for display). 


Aaron Cohick 

Aaron Cohick is a book artist and publisher based in Colorado Springs, CO, where he runs the NewLights Press and The Press at Colorado College. Aaron's work, under both imprints, is held in public and private collections all over the world, including the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University, SFMOMA Library, the Letterform Archive, and the Tate Britain Library. He has taught workshops at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, the Bemis School of Art, the San Francisco Center for the Book, Naropa University, and Penland School of Crafts.

Jean Gumpper 

Jean Gumpper is Artist in Residence and SeniorLecturer in the art department at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Her color woodcut prints are represented by William Havu Gallery in Denver, Davidson Gallery in Seattle; Ebo Gallery in New York; Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis; Olson Larson in Des Moines; and Open Studio in Toronto, Canada.  Jean’s prints are in collections of The Art Bank at Department of State, Washington D.C; in museums, universities and art centers as well as in collections across the United States, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Nepal and Sweden. She received an Individual Visual Artist Fellowship award from the Colorado Council on the Arts. 

Katja Rivera

Katja Rivera (she/her) is the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. Recent curatorial projects include Ronny Quevedo: at the line (FAC), Harold Mendez: the years now (Logan Center, University of Chicago), and Traduttore, Traditore (Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago). Prior to joining the FAC, Katja worked at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago and in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her projects have been supported by the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Foundation and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, among others. Katja holds an MA in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin and is a PhD Candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she specializes in modern and contemporary art with a focus on experimental practices in Mexico.


Sponsored by State of the Rockies Project and supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  For more information EMAIL Cyndy Hines




Report an issue - Last updated: 11/30/2021