Focus on Book Arts invites artists to submit a challenge book project for a virtual event that will be held during our July 15-17, 2021 virtual conference.

Participating in the challenge book project is a fun way to get inspired and generate new work! Being directed by the theme and criteria we present will allow you to take new and creative directions. We invite you to accept our challenge and follow the prompts below to create a new book or box.

We welcome books and boxes that consider the theme Where We Live: Where does your heart reside? For example,
Does your heart reside in memories of a childhood home or Gramma’s house? Does your heart live in the summer camp where you were a counselor? A favorite vacation spot? Maybe your heart resides in your kitchen or yoga mat. To inspire your challenge book, consider memories that warm your heart or places that put your heart at ease.

We hope you’ll join with the FOBA community to create a challenge artist’s book or box in 2021 that responds to the criteria below. We look forward to seeing what you create!

Challenge Book Criteria


Your work must incorporate at least three words.

There are lots of ways to add text. Perhaps the words you include are printed on the page, elements in a collage, or added as flags or tabs. The language you include might be monograms, a quote, or a longer text. Follow FOBA on social media (facebook and instagram) for ideas.


Your work must include some color or texture that you have created.

Pull out your paints, crayons, plant material…whatever you can think of to add color, texture, or images to your piece.


The book or box structure of your choice

While there is no requirement for a specific structure, we encourage you to stretch and try something new. Maybe revisit a class you enjoyed but never really brought home.

Eligibility and Media

  • This exhibition is open to any artist 18 years of age or older.
  • The work must be created in 2021.
  • Maximum of 3 works may be submitted per artist.
  • The work has to include ALL three criteria.
    • Your work must incorporate at least three words.
    • Your work must include some color or texture that you have created
    • Your work must be a book or box – no restrictions on structure.


June 23, 2021 – Deadline for submissions & payment to be received.
July 17, 2021 – Challenge Book Roundtable – Hear from featured challenge book artists about their process. Register for the roundtable here.
August 30, 2021 – Last day to view online.

We would love to see your progress and process on Instagram. Feel free to post images with the hashtag #fobachallenge2021 as you work on your piece.


  • Online submissions will be accepted from February 15 – June 23, 2021
  • Early submissions are appreciated
  • Fee for entry is $10 per artwork (not per artist)
  • We have a limited number of fee waivers reserved for BIPOC participants. If you identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or a Person of Color and would like your challenge book project entry fee waived, please claim a waiver when you submit your entry.
  • You needn’t enter your submissions all at the same time. Submission is by file upload only.
  • Submission fees are non-refundable.
  • Each book submission must include 2-4 images.
  • Please note that you will not be able to change any information submitted after the submission process.


The artist agrees that images of selected artwork and the submitted text can be used by Focus on Book Arts for promotions and publications.

Submission of entry constitutes agreement to all conditions in the prospectus.