Artist Information

A note about our response to COVID-19:

While we hope to be fully open and operational in September, we recognize there may still be restrictions in place, particularly around large gatherings. Our tentative schedule remains the same as in previous years, with a Preview Party the night before the show opening, but that may change if guidelines recommend otherwise.

As Sculpture in the Garden is entirely outdoors and spread out across our display gardens, it is in many ways an ideal exhibit for a time of social distancing. We are hopeful that the show’s basic framework – open to the public during normal Garden hours – will continue unchanged.


About the Show

This autumn marks the 32nd 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. Together, they invite you to see art, the natural world, and the relationship between the two in a new way.


This year’s show runs from Sunday, September 13 through Sunday, December 6. 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 13, 2020

Artists Notified: Monday, August 3, 2020

Installation: Monday-Saturday, August 31-September 5; 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Preview Party: Saturday, September 12, 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 13, 1 p.m.

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

Exhibit Closes: Sunday, December 6, 5 p.m.

Pickup: Monday, December 7 – Saturday, December 12, 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.


To participate in Sculpture in the Garden, you must be 18 or older. As each artist is responsible for bringing, setting up, and then eventually removing their work from the Garden, we encourage local, North Carolina artists to enter.

Work you submit to Sculpture in the Garden must be:

  • Original: designed and created by you.
  • Able to stand freely or be anchored in grit or soil: we have no dedicated sculpture pads or bases. (Sculptures designed to be wall-mounted or hung must use hardware that doesn’t damage Garden buildings or trees.)
  • Able to withstand pressure from wind and rain and the activities of visitors and Garden staff
  • Completed before the show and require only minimal assembly.
  • New to the North Carolina Botanical Garden. The date of completion can be anytime, but it can’t have been a part of a previous Sculpture in the Garden.

Siting and Installation

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.

The smaller a sculpture’s footprint, the more possibilities for siting. Heavy sculptures with large bases are restricted to a limited number of sites along grit paths. Sculptures on stakes or stands that are light on the landscape can be placed throughout the Garden.

Garden staff determine sculpture siting and installation and supervise the installation process. If you have a particular request for site conditions, make a note of that in the optional entry form question.

View photos from previous Sculpture in the Garden exhibits


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 3, 2020, if their piece(s) have been selected.


We anticipate a similar award structure to previous years, with juror-selected Best-in-Show and Honorable Mentions and public-voted People’s Choice Award, all with a monetary award. More information coming soon!

Liability and Insurance

The North Carolina Botanical Garden provides insurance coverage for sculpture while on our premises for exhibition purposes. All sculptures are displayed outdoors, so they 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. Once the show has begun, we cannot change the listed sale price of the work. 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.

Entry Procedure

Each artist may enter up to two works. Submissions must be received by Monday, July 13, 2020.

The entry form involves submitting basic contact information, an artist bio, and detailed information (including dimensions and photos) of artwork being submitted. Questions? Contact the show coordinator, Emily Oglesby, at


Sculpture in the Garden 2020 Entry Form

Featured Sculpture

A Special Opportunity

Our new entryway is under construction: the sign wall is finished, and plantings are coming next. We hope to add a large, statement sculpture on a pad behind the sign wall this fall to celebrate Sculpture in the Garden. If you think your work might be a good fit for this site, on the high-visibility corner of Fordham Boulevard and Old Mason Farm Road, contact the show coordinator.