In the midst of a yearlong, statewide campaign to commemorate the 400th anniversary of key events that occurred in the commonwealth in 1619, Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution is hosting a photography contest.

Titled, “American Evolution 2019 Reflections,” the contest runs until Jan. 5, 2020, and offers a $3,000 prize to the first-place winners in each of three categories:

  • Professional photographers (ages 18 and up)
  • Professional organizations (this includes partners of the 2019 Commemoration)
  • Amateurs (ages 18 and up)

The contest empowers Virginians and visitors to be a part of the historic documentation of the 2019 Commemoration. The goals of the photo contest include collecting photographs and their background stories documenting the important and historic impact of the 2019 Commemorative year; sharing real-life images of participants engaging in the 2019 Commemoration events and initiatives; and expressing what the 2019 Commemoration meant to individuals.

All images and accompanying stories collected in the contest will be housed permanently in the 2019 Commemoration library and available for public consultation in perpetuity as a legacy of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution. As a collective record of this historical year from a multitude of perspectives, these photographs will serve as invaluable primary source material for future research by scholars and others.

“Photos submitted to the American Evolution 2019 Reflections photography contest will serve as a long-term representation of what the 2019 Commemorative year meant to so many people across the Commonwealth,” said Kathy Spangler, executive director of Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution. “Ensuring the historical meaning behind the events these photos document is not forgotten is imperative in keeping the authentic conversation about 1619 alive for generations to come.”

Entries must be submitted in digital format online. The final submission deadline is Jan. 5, 2020. Contest winners will be announced on Jan. 24, 2020.

To be eligible, photographs must have been taken during the 2019 Commemorative calendar year — between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019 — and must be aligned with the Commemoration as outlined in the official Contest Rules & Guidelines.

Submission forms, technical requirements, qualification parameters, exclusions and all other contest details can be found on the contest website at

For more information about American Evolution’s upcoming events and programs, visit

Submitted by Jill Samuelson-Devriendt

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