NEWS: Artistic License: Alaska’s Inaugural License Plate Design Competition

Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins

Alaska’s Inaugural License Plate Design Competition

February 28, 2017

JUNEAU – Are you a kindergartener with an eye for color?  Are you a professional artist looking for opportunities in an unusual medium?  Are you an Alaskan looking to gain fame and recognition in both visual art and vehicular transportation?

Boy, have we got an opportunity for you.

Today is the launch of Artistic License, Alaska’s inaugural license plate design competition.

The idea is simple: the state of Alaska is opening a call to all Alaskans, to brainstorm, create, and submit designs for their ideal license plate.

A top-secret, celebrity panel of Alaskan judges (which will be revealed in coming weeks) will choose finalists, and a statewide vote by Alaskans — think American Idol, or Alaska Airlines’ Paint-the-Plane competition — will decide the winning design.

The winning design will be available for all Alaskans to put on their cars as an official DMV-issued plate, but available only for a limited run through the next four years.  The winning design will then be retired (thereby available only secondhand, perhaps as collectors’ items), at which time a new statewide competition will begin, a new winning license plate design will be available on for the following four years and thereby retired, and so on and so forth.

“We live in the biggest, most amazing, most wonderful state in the nation,” said Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka).  “Using license plates as a 6-inch-by-12-inch canvas, omnipresent in streets, parking lots, and driveways across Alaska, to celebrate the beauty of our amazing state, and to bring beauty to everyday life, is an idea I’m really excited to see realized.”

If you paint, photograph, design, draw, collage, or create blubber and baleen batiks, the Alaska Artistic License celebrity panel of judges wants to see it. It can be an ornate masterpiece or minimalist crayon drawing: it just has to be uploadable in 2D.

Submissions will be accepted from February 27 – April 24, 2017.  You can find design guidelines, instructions for uploading, and learn more on the program website at There will be a small stipend paid to all the finalist designers.

“We at the Alaska State Council on the Arts [ASCA] believe that art is for all Alaskans.” Said Kesler Woodward, renowned Alaskan painter and vice-chair of the Council.  “We know that creativity abounds in every corner and every home in our great state, and we’re excited to provide each and every Alaskan the ‘Artistic License’ to demonstrate it.”

Revenues from Artistic License will go to the artist of the winning design as well as to ASCA itself, helping the Arts Council achieve greater financial self-sufficiency, consistent with a broader strategic priority for ASCA, more important than ever given the State of Alaska’s fiscal crisis.

Artistic License is a partnership between ASCA, Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles, and office of Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins.  The program is an original idea from Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins set forth in HB 217 and, later, SB 154, legislation passed during the 2016 session in partnership with retired Senator Bill Stoltze.  It’s inspired by deep appreciation for Alaska’s unique arts and culture and way of life, and a desire to create more value and beauty in our day-to-day lives as Alaskans.

Questions? Please get in touch with Alicia Norton in Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins office, at 465-3732, or


More from the AK House Coalition

Contact Info:
Graham Judson Press Secretary
(907) 465-5284
120 4th St, Juneau, AK 99801