Artistic license: Beat Oct. 31 deadline to vote on plate


The Alaska State Council on the Arts inaugural license plate competition is now open for public voting.

From 142 designs that were submitted by Alaskans of all ages, a panel of judges whittled the concepts down to five. Sen. Mia Costello was on the panel of judges.

Now, Alaskans get to choose from the finalists. The winning design will be produced by the Division of Motor Vehicles and will be available for purchase ($50) for the next four year starting in 2018. The proceeds — about $33 per plate after DMV recoups its costs — support the work of the Council.

Voting closes Oct. 31 and is limited to Alaska residents, although there appears to be no hard-and-fast filter for determining who is voting. This is the arts, after all, not national security.

The winning license plate will be announced by Nov. 30. The designer will win $1,000 and the other four finalists will receive $250 for their efforts.

The program is a result of SB 154, which passed in 2016 and allows for special license plates to celebrate and support the Alaska State Council on the Arts and Blood Bank of Alaska. Sen. Bill Stolze sponsored the legislation, with Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins sponsoring it on the House side. This is the first competition to be held since the law passed. The council will hold a competition every four years and retire the prior winning design.

The Division of Motor Vehicles has a number of specialty license plates for everything from historic vehicles to Choose Life.

The finalists in the arts council license plate competition depict mountains, salmon, fireweed, northern lights, a raven, and an old-time food cache. Artists, evidently, don’t find mining or oil production to be artistic inspiration.

But we do…


Must Read Alaska is accepting designs that artistically celebrate rebuilding our Alaska economy.

Send your jpeg designs — and humor is encouraged — to suzanne @ The winning design, chosen by a panel of me, will receive a Must Read Alaska limited edition blue beanie with the Big Dipper star design. You have until Oct. 31 to get your design in.