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Below are our category descriptions. Works can be entered in multiple categories when appropriate. There are benefits of entering the same work into multiple categories:

  1. Each category is juried by four jurors. Although there are jurors who jury multiple categories, no category has the exact same set of jurors. This means that a work in more than one category will have two different sets of jurors adjudicating the work.
  2. Your work would be competing against a different group of artworks. Each category is juried independently from every other category with the exception of some specific awards.
  3. We offer a Dual Category Award for works that perform well in multiple categories.

For example:

  • A sculpture of an animal can be entered in both the Animal and Sculpture categories
  • A fanciful, fictitious landscape can be entered in both the Landscape and the Imaginative Realist categories
  • If a still life has an animal in it, it can be entered in both the Still Life and Animal categories
  • Symbolic and allegorical works with figures can be entered in both the Figurative and Imaginative Realist categories
  • Works created without the use of photographic references can be entered in both the Fully From Life category, as well as the category that fits the subject such as Landscape, Still Life, Figurative, Portraiture, etc.
  • These are just examples, other combinations are possible. If you have questions, please write to


Groups of people, individuals, and nudes. Any oils, color pencil, watercolor, acrylic, and pastels that depict the human form are all acceptable mediums for this category. Entrants can enter their work in multiple categories as they see fit. (Sculptures should be entered in the Sculpture category and graphite and charcoal drawings should be in the Drawing category even if they have figures in them. If the work is clearly a portrait, it should be entered in the Portrait category, though many paintings of single figures are not necessarily portraits, and some may be appropriate to enter in both the Figurative and Portrait categories.)

Thank you to Realism Live and Realism Today for sponsoring this category.

Imaginative Realism

This category includes historical scenes, fantasy, religious, surrealism and science fiction works. Other realist based figurative works will remain in the Figurative Category. Entrants can enter their work in multiple categories as they see fit.

Thank you to Laguna College of Art and Design for sponsoring this category.


All landscape subjects are acceptable, from cityscapes to seascapes, the real to the imaginary. Entrants can enter their work in multiple categories as they see fit.

Thank you to Bold Brush for sponsoring this category.


This category includes all animal art. Any paintings, sculptures or drawings where an animal or animals are the subject of the work. Entrants can enter their work in multiple categories as they see fit.

If the main subject of the artwork is NOT an animal and there just happens to be an animal in a predominantly figurative work, then it should not be entered in this category.

Still Life

From the traditional to the inventive, works may range from a single object to a room's full interior. Entrants can enter their work in multiple categories as they see fit.


The subject matter is open in this category and includes sculptures created in all media. The category mandates that the works are actually sculpted however, casts made by pouring materials over the actual model to create molds are not acceptable.


The subject matter is open in this category and may include pencil and graphite drawings, as well as charcoal, scratchboard and silverpoint. Entrants can enter their work in multiple categories as they see fit.

Thank you to Princeton Academy of Art for sponsoring this category.


This important genre first thrived 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Since then it has always served as more then just a visual record and has been used to demonstrate power, importance, virtue, beauty, wealth or taste; but most importantly, portraits are intended to capture the soul of the sitter. Entrants can enter their work in multiple categories as they see fit.

Thank you to Academy of Realist Art Boston for sponsoring this category.

Plein Air Paintings

Plein air painting is about painting on site and creating beautiful scenes fully from life in a natural setting. Its origins started centuries ago as a way to capture color and light, and works created in this method were often used by artists as reference sketches when creating academic studio works. However, this style of painting took on a life of its own, becoming a favorite of the French Impressionists. Their desire to paint light and its changing, ephemeral qualities, married with the creation of transportable paint tubes and the box easel, allowed artists the freedom to paint “en plein air,” which is the French expression for "in the open air." Although this category is most often associated to landscape paintings, figurative works that were also painted en plein air, are encouraged in this category. We are proud to have added this important historical genera to the ARC Salon. Entrants can enter their work in multiple categories as they see fit.

For this category, in order for the work to be eligible, the work must have been created at least 90% on site. Minor touch-ups done in the studio after the work is basically complete are still accepted into this category, so long as it does not constitute more then 10% of the work.

Thank you to PleinAir Live, the Plein Air Convention and Expo (PACE), and PleinAir Magazine for sponsoring this category.

Fully from Life

This category is intended to highlight works created solely from life without the use of any photographic references. This category is open to all subject matter and mediums, from drawings in charcoal to figurative work in oil done from live models as well as still life and animal art. Works entered into this category are still encouraged to be entered into the other categories that are appropriate for the subject matter. For example, a figurative work done solely from life is encouraged to compete in both the Fully from Life category as well as the Figurative category. Working directly from life poses unique challenges to the artist. The natural world cannot be copied - it must be interpreted. In the absence of an intermediary, like photography, to assist in the translation of the subject, the artist is guided only by his or her individual exploration of the subject to create a uniquely personal representation of reality.

Thank you to The Florence Academy of Art for sponsoring this category.

Teens Category

Because of ARC's commitment to introduce skill-based training techniques to the next generation, we are pleased to announce that this year's salon will include a category specifically for students of 13 to 19 years of age. Works created during this age range are also acceptable, so long as the artist is no older then 20 years of age at the time of entry. Awards in the amounts of $2,500, $1,000 and $500 (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place) will be awarded for the winning students' artworks as well as eight honorable mentions. In addition, all semi-finalists will receive international recognition for their artwork, their instructor, and their school through the ARC website, and finalists will also be published in the 16th ARC Salon book. Winners in the Teens Category will also be included in the Lunar Codex, and be invited to travel in the 16th ARC Salon Exhibition. These works by our talented youth will not compete with the other categories of the ARC Salon, but in this separate division specifically for young students. (Entry fee is $25.) Please read the rules page for more details. Please note that due to the increase in size of this category as well as the originality shown in last year’s competition, we will no longer allow master copies to be submitted. All works must be original artwork. If you attend a Title 1 school and this fee would be a barrier to entry, please write to

Thank you to PoetsArtists Magazine for sponsoring this category.