Entries are now closed. Contact the show coordinator with questions.


This autumn marks the 31st annual exhibit of Sculpture in the Garden. Since its inception in 1988, Sculpture in the Garden has united the work of local artists with the curated landscapes of the North Carolina Botanical Garden to create a stunning and novel way to experience sculpture, the natural world, and the relationship between the two.


This year's show runs from Sunday, September 15 through Sunday, December 8. It's free and open to the public during normal Garden hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday).

Entries Due: Monday, July 1, 2019

Artists Notified: Thursday, August 1, 2019

Installation: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday, September 5, 6, 7, and 9; 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Preview Party: Saturday, September 14, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

  • Opening reception and awards ceremony with beverages and hors d'oeuvres
  • Free for exhibiting artists and their plus ones with RSVP; $30 per person for general public

Exhibit Opens: Sunday, September 15, 1 p.m.

  • Free and open to the public; all artists encouraged to attend
  • Light refreshments provided

Exhibit Closes: Sunday, December 8, 5 p.m.

Pickup: Monday, December 9 - Saturday, December 14, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


Located off of Fordham Boulevard in Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG) is a center for the study, display, and conservation of southeastern native plants and natural areas. Ten fenced acres of display and habitat gardens surrounding the LEED Platinum certified Allen Education Center provide a number of distinct environments for sculpture. Our mission is to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature.


Artists must be 18 or older. All works must support the mission of the Garden, must be original and not previously exhibited at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and must have been completed after January 1, 2009. All works must have the ability to be anchored and withstand pressure from wind, the effects of rain, and the activities of visitors and Garden staff. All entries must be completed before the show and require only minimal assembly.


Through Sculpture in the Garden, we invite visitors to consider the relationship between art and nature. We aim to create a show that will appeal to - and be appropriate for - people of all ages and backgrounds. This includes works in a wide variety of media and sizes, by a diverse group of artists, with interpretation provided by the artist that will help visitors appreciate the art, whether they have a long interest in art or whether it's their first time at a sculpture show. Ultimately, we hope visitors will walk away with renewed interest in both art and nature.

All entries will be reviewed by a selection committee. Selected entries will meet all eligibility requirements; the Garden reserves the right not to accept sculptures deemed not supportive of our mission or that may pose a danger to visitors or plant collections. Artists who submit two pieces may have one, both, or neither piece selected. Artists will be notified by August 1, 2019, if their piece(s) have been selected.


Sculpture in the Garden is an exhibit within an exhibit: sculptures must be able to be maneuvered through Garden paths to reach their sites and installed in and around carefully curated horticultural displays and habitat gardens without damaging the plants they contain. Sculpture siting and placement are determined by Garden staff, who will also supervise installation.


Six monetary prizes will be awarded this year: Best in Show and four Honorable Mentions and a People's Choice Award. Best in Show and Honorable Mentions are chosen by a jury and announced at the Preview Party on September 14. Voting for the People's Choice Award will open during the Preview Party on September 14 and will remain open to the general public until Friday, November 15. Garden visitors are welcome to vote once per visit for the People's Choice Award.

Best in Show: $2,000
Honorable Mentions (four awarded): $500 each
People's Choice Award: $1,000


The North Carolina Botanical Garden provides insurance coverage for sculpture while on its premises for exhibition purposes, between delivery and pick-up. Works will be displayed outdoors, and entries must be weatherproof and durable. The North Carolina Botanical Garden cannot assume responsibility for loss or damage incurred during setup or takedown nor before or after exhibition dates. Insurance covers up to the stated value of the piece. In cases of severe weather, it is the responsibility of the artist to inform the show coordinator what, if any, action needs to be taken to protect their work.


Sales are encouraged, and all works are assumed to be available for purchase unless designated not for sale. All sculptures must remain on site until the close of the show. Sales take place in the NCBG Garden Shop. Artists are promptly notified of sales and then are required to submit a W9 and direct deposit form. It is the responsibility of the artist to remit tax to the State of North Carolina. The North Carolina Botanical Garden retains 30% of the pre-tax price, which is used to perpetuate the show.


Each artist may enter up to two works (completed on or after 1/1/2011). Submissions must be received by Monday, July 1, 2019.

The entry form involves submitting basic contact information, an artist bio, and detailed information (including dimensions and photos) of artwork being submitted. Filling out the form requires a Google account, but you can create one on the spot if you don't already have one.

Sculpture in the Garden is made possible by the financial support of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, the North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc., and the Sculpture in the Garden Event Hosts. Questions? Contact the show coordinator, Emily Oglesby, at eoglesby@unc.edu or 919-962-2233.