Maine Bicentennial: Call for Proposals – State Seal Modern Interpretation

In celebration of the Maine state bicentennial The Harlow, in partnership with the Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead, seeks a modern interpretation of the original Maine state seal to be hung over the mantel in the Vaughan Homestead dining room.

One artist will be selected and awarded a $1,500 prize. The Vaughan Homestead will work collaboratively with the artist to create a final custom artwork which both modernizes and honors the original state seal. Once an artist is selected, Vaughan Homestead staff will follow up with pertinent details, dates, deadlines, etc. Proposals will be reviewed by staff members of The Harlow and Vaughan Homestead.

The deadline for entries has been extended to March 7, 2020 by 11:59pm.

Artists may submit one piece only, in any two dimensional media including but not limited to: painting, drawing, printmaking, encaustic, illustration, mixed media, photography, and more. The submitted piece must be an original work by the submitting artist. Artists should be residents of Maine at least part of the year. Keep in mind that the final artwork should be no larger than 25×34.”

HISTORY OF THE MAINE STATE SEAL: When Maine separated from Massachusetts one of the first actions of the newly established Legislature was to decide upon the Great Seal of Maine. Benjamin Vaughan, although not a legislative committee member, proposed the emblems, still in use today, which were first crudely drawn by one of his daughters, reportedly at the dining room table that sits in Vaughan Homestead to this day. In his proposal for the seal, Vaughan argues that residents of Maine should take pride in their “northern situation.” He wrote “we are the most northern state in the Union . . . yet what is an ordinary star for all other states becomes the north star for us.” He continues “Then grow great not by the power of the sun, but by [our] habits.” This northern identity is still alive and well in Maine! The primary elements of the seal are the northern star, the farmer, the mariner, the moose and the white pine.

Settled in 1794, Vaughan Homestead was the residence of Benjamin and Sarah Vaughan and six generations of their descendants. With its sweeping view of the Kennebec River, rolling fields, lush gardens and towering forest, it remains much the same today as when it was built. Vaughan, a physician and British Parliamentarian, advised the Founding Fathers, supported the development of Maine and the City of Hallowell and encouraged new methods of agriculture throughout the region. For the next 200 years, his descendants lived in the house on the hill, grew their food, made repairs, built trails in the woods, weathered the bad times and celebrated the good. In 2002, the non-profit Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead was established, and a new era of Homestead history began. Today, VWHH seeks to deepen people’s sense of place by providing access to the local natural landscape and programs that both promote an understanding of the past and build a connection to the community of today.

1. Email your image to
2. Attach your jpg image to the email. (You may submit more than one image for each work if you feel it will help to better understand the work.)
3. Include the following information in the body of your email:
Artist name:
Mailing address:
Phone number:
Email address:
Current member (yes/no):
Short description including media and any other information you wish to use to describe your work:
4. Pay the non-refundable entry fee of $30 for non-members and $15 for current members.
Pay online here
or send a check payable to Harlow Gallery to:

The Harlow, 100 Water Street, Hallowell, ME 04347