2023 Vintage Poster Contest

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, or "motto." The direction each student goes is only bound by the topics covered in the poll that deal with the conservation of public lands. 


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.  In recent years, the number of visitors and parks visited has increased substantially causing public lands officials to consider how best to manage these lands with the increased visitation.  Today, the message to visitors and outdoor recreationists would be different if we were to create new promotional posters for visiting our national lands.

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.




1ST PLACE 700$     2ND PLACE $500     3RD PLACE $250


2021 mock up poster
EXAMPLE of 2021
Student VINTAGE poster
1930s poster

National Parks poster

In addition to the digital image, 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 2023 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. This Bryce Canyon National Park poster is an example of a poster created during the Federal Art Project; the old vintage poster is 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 are welcome.

Please submit your entry to chines@coloradocollege.edu by MIDNIGHT on FEBRUARY 11, 2024. Use CC OneDrive to share large files. 

Winners announced February 15 at noon.


Contest Criteria

  • Efficacy of your conservation motto and justification as they relate to conservation concerns reported by recent Conservation in the West poll findings
  • Composition of poster
  • Creative use of the historical national park poster style
  • Use of color
  • Impact of message

COPYRIGHT rules:  

Colorado College reserves the right to use all student contest entries for academic and promotional purposes.  

Students may use their original artwork in any way they choose but may not include any Colorado College identifiers as part of their original work when selling or promoting their poster creations.

CC stringently adheres to these rules and guidelines of this contest.

File Specifications

  • Files must be saved as a JPEG/JPG or PNG.
  • 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).



Need Help?

Contact Meghan Rubenstein (mrubenstein@coloradocollege.edu) in the Visual Resource Center!

Meghan and the student staff in the VRC are happy to have people come and learn Adobe on the computers in the VRC.


1st Place Winner



by Sam Nystrom Costales, '25

Nystrom Costales Bear Lodge

The State of the Rockies poll demonstrated that there was strong enthusiasm for the current administration’s 30x30 policy, which seeks to conserve 30% of land and marine habitat by 2030. The policy supports tribal-led conservation projects and sovereignty. It is significant that 30x30 recognizes sovereignty as tribal involvement in management practices has been treated as a formality, despite the efficacy of indigenous-led land management. At the same time, 30x30 must avoid placing the burden of protecting public lands primarily on indigenous peoples. Highlighting this part of the 30x30 policy is important as recognition of tribal sovereignty could provide greater agency to indigenous groups while reducing the continued harm of settler-colonialism. I represented Devils Tower (using an alternative name) because it has particularly been a site of struggle for the recognition of indigenous land practices and sovereignty, specifically between outdoor recreationists and the nations that regard the site as sacred.

Judges' Comments:

  • Strong design and compelling image
  • Thoughtful typography 
  • Good use of color
  • Clear message about important issue

2nd Place Winner


Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado

Poster by Rafi Donohoe


My visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park was the first time I had been to a dark sky preserve, and the first time I ever really saw the Milky Way. Inspired by the “Half the Park is After Dark” slogan from the National Park Service, I wanted to recreate the iconic Milky Way posters with a message about light pollution. While the artificial light may seem harmless compared to greenhouse gases or fracking, it has the power to disrupt human and animal rhythms and ruin natural habitats. Additionally, lighting is one of the largest contributors to global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and much of it is wasted. With my poster, I hope to convey the beauty of dark skies, and the importance in preserving them from light pollution.

Judges' comments:

  • Striking and well-made image
  • Appropriate vintage-style topography
  • Excellent use of color

3rd Place Winner


Pike National Forest, Colorado

Poster by Sebastian Olson

Olson Pikes Peak

I focused on Pikes Peak with Garden of the Gods in the foreground for my poster. Since I came to Colorado College, I have spent many weekends exploring Colorado’s vast wilderness, but often rely on these two nearby spaces to unwind and go on a run or bike ride. As a gateway into the Pike National Forest, Garden of the Gods has much to offer, but its easy access comes with increased vulnerability. Car traffic and litter have only increased these past years since 2020. At least three-in-five people in every Rocky Mountain state support preserving public lands and national monuments, and my goal for this poster is to get this point across while still inviting people to visit these amazing locations. Our natural spaces should be accessible to people, not cars.  

Judges' comments:

  • Strong and fun typography
  • Curved lines of type make for a dynamic composition
  • Local message

Honorable Mentions

PROTECT OUR LANDS - Great Sand Dunes


Poster by Sophie Dua

  • Really beautiful image!
  • Impressive attention to details.

WATER IS DRAINING - Colorado River

Casey Millhone Water is DrainingPoster by Casey Millhone

  • Beautiful image
  • Thoughtful use of color

PIKA - Rocky Mountain National Park

Miller PROTECT OUR PIKA Poster by Sofie Miller
  • We love the cute pika!


Ellyn WalkerEllyn Walker is an interdisciplinary arts scholar and curator. Her work explores questions of representation and place-making in the arts as they pertain to distinct positional, cultural, and institutional contexts. Ellyn has studied at the University of Toronto, McGill, and OCAD University, and completed a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen's University where her research focused on decolonial curatorial methodologies used in contemporary exhibition-making and museum practice in Canada and beyond. She is currently working on a co-edited anthology titled Curatorial Contestations: Critical Exhibition-Making Practices in Canada with Michelle Jacques that explores diverse curatorial pedagogies and projects from across the lands now known as Canada. Ellyn was the Acting Director/Curator of The Blackwood University art gallery from 2021–2022, where she was also cross-appointed as Assistant Professor in the Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at Colorado College.

Jillian SicoJillian Sico (she/her) is a papermaker, bookbinder, and letterpress printmaker who makes artists’ books under the imprint Frogsong Press. She received an MFA in Book Arts from The University of Alabama in 2020, where she focused on letterpress printing, papermaking, and fine bookbinding. She also received an MA in Environmental Anthropology from The University of Georgia in 2013 and a BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD in 2005. Her process is informed and expanded through collaboration and research on culture and ecology. Her work has been exhibited nationally and is held in numerous special and private collections. Jillian currently manages The Press at Colorado College.

Kaitlin SteinfortKaitlin Steinfort, '22 (she/her) is a Colorado College alum and former poster printer at The Press at Colorado College. In the summer of 2019, she took a Book Arts and Letterpress course at The Press at Colorado College and worked alongside Aaron Cohick and other students in the press through her senior year. During her final year on campus, Kaitlin combined her passion for environmental protection and education and her love for creating art in the press to help design and create the posters used to advertise the first State of the Rockies poster contest in 2021/2022. Now as an alum, Kaitlin works in the habitat management field and continues to work on her own art in a variety of media, hoping to continue finding and creating ways to use art as a tool for environmental advocacy, protection, and education.

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

CC letterpress students designed promotional posters for the 2023 and 2022 contests.  
By Kaitlin Steinfort, '22 and Mar Wilson, '23

Letterpress vintage poster Rocky MtnVintage letterpress poster Grand TetonLetterpress vintage poster Yellowstone

CC Rolls Vintage Press: Students Help Launch Vintage West Poster Contest

Colorado College students run campus letterpress producing vintage-style posters to help promote the college's State of the Rockies Conservation in the West student vintage poster contest.

Story and video by Eric Ingram, '23.

CC State of the Rockies Vintage Poster Contest: What Makes a Good Poster?

CC vintage press printmakers share their ideas on what a winning poster should include. Learn what 4to include in your vintage poster contest submission.

Story and video by Eric Ingram, '23.

Report an issue - Last updated: 02/15/2024