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Sarah Bouma
“Fueling the American Dream”


Thanks to fossil fuels, Americans are living safer and more rewarding lives than ever before. From enjoying a home cooked meal, to receiving life saving medical attention- affordable and reliable fossil fuels are the reason for it all! Children are the next generation that will continue to benefit from fossil fuels. Their American Dream will soar like a fossil-fueled airplane! All of these ideas are contained within a plastic gas can, because as more fossil fuels are used, more dreams and ideas will come forth!

I’d like to thank PETROLEUM for providing the following materials used to create this piece:

  • Gas Can (plastic)
  • Markers (plastic)
  • Hot glue and glue gun (plastic)
  • Foam reinforcements
  • The handle of my scissors (plastic)
  • Rubber cutting mat for x-acto knife
  • Pieces of the hacksaw that I used to cut the gas can in half (plastic & rubber)
  • Band-aids (no comment)

I cannot forget to thank COAL for powering the electricity that allowed me to create this piece late at night with ample lighting, and NATURAL GAS that allowed me to cook tamales in order to sustain myself through the creative process. Also wine.


Valerie Savarie


“Obsolete” is piece created from a book titled “Engines and How They Work” which had been stamped “obsolete” by a library and donated to a local thrift store. The contents of the book demonstrates how a wide variety of engines work. From small engines found in lawn mowers to enormous ones found in power plants, all powered by fossil fuels. The technical information within is still valid and the basis of which can still be utilized today, so why make it obsolete?

Coal fuels our factories, gas fuels our transportation, transportation fuels our ability to get goods and fuels our economy – not only from when this book was published but today, here and now – across the globe. Fossil fuels – literally from the ground up – provide us the ability to live not as hunter gatherers but as inventors and thinkers.

Utilizing this “obsolete” technology and then adapting it to today’s needs and innovations is sustainable as it reduces the amount of the earth’s resources being used by adapting – not throwing out and creating new.

This book bot represents the thinker, doer, inventor – all only available as long as we have the stability of consistent energy. Maybe limited in resources (old technology) but using these building blocks, it can give us the opportunity to find reasonable and cost effective alternatives working hand in hand with the fossil fuels that we have relied upon for centuries.


Deborah Natelson
“Golden Age Fuel”


Planes.  Helicopters.  Rocket ships.  Cars.  Telephone and electricity poles.  Cars.  Skyscrapers.  Almost everything in this picture would not exist in its present form without the benefits of fossil fuels.  That is why the oil drill is in the center of the picture.  It represents fossil fuels, and we pass through it in order to reach our golden age of civilization.


Earth Day is coming!

Environmentalists celebrate by planting trees but they never celebrate the trucks that deliver the trees, or the gas that powers that truck, or the plastic handles of the shovels they use. Fossil fuels supplied by Mother Earth make Earth Day events possible.

Join us in celebrating Earth Day 2017 by submitting your original artwork in our EARTH DAY FOSSIL FUELS ART CONTEST! The theme is “A Celebration of Fossil Fuels”. Solar and wind energy will be celebrated in every other Earth Day event. We want to highlight the work horses of the energy world — fossil fuels. In the 21st Century, so many of us are fortunate to celebrate Earth Day from positions of material wealth and a standard of living derived almost exclusively from fossil-fuel-driven economic development that has lifted scores of people out of poverty through access to affordable power. We believe affordable, reliable, abundant, safe energy and a thriving, clean environment are not mutually exclusive. The choice of energy sources and how they are utilized should come from the demands of an innovative and free market with fossil fuels, wind, and solar competing on an even playing field.

Three semi-finalists will be announced on Earth Day, April 22 on this webpage. The semi-finalists’ entries will be displayed at our Founders’ Night Dinner on Thursday, April 27. Founders’ Night guests will vote on the winner via Approval Voting (Sponsored by ApprovalVotingUSA.org). Approval voting is a single-winner voting method that allows voters to choose any number of candidates. The candidate with the most votes wins. The winner will be announced at Founders’ Night.

All three semi-finalists will receive:

  • $75 in gift cards
  • One ticket to our Founders’ Night Dinner ($250 purchase value)
  • The option to sell their entry in the silent auction at our Founders’ Night Dinner

Third place will also receive:

  • $100 cash

Second place will also receive:

  • $250 cash

The winner will also receive:

  • $919.31 cash
  • One $100 gasoline gift card

We’re not big into rules but we do have a few for the contest.

All entries must be received by April 21, 2017


  • All artwork must be your original work (no clip art, please).
  • This competition is open to artists of all ages. However, any semi-finalists younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult if they wish to attend the Founders’ Night event. All semi-finalists will have the option of purchasing one additional ticket to Founders’ Night at the discounted rate of $100.


  • All media are accepted, however, artwork must be in a format that can be displayed at our Founders’ Night Dinner event.
  • If your submission is chosen as one of the semi-finalists, you have the option of including your piece in our silent auction (see below for details)
  • Entries can be mailed, or hand-delivered to the Independence Institute (727 East 16th Avenue, Denver, CO 80203). Email submissions are not encouraged but will be accepted (mail to tracy@i2i.org), however, if chosen as a semi-finalist, your artwork must be supplied to the Independence Institute by 5 pm on Monday, April 24 in a format that can be displayed at our Founders’ Night event.
  • Artwork must fit on a flat 24” x 24” display space and not be more than 36” tall.
  • Artist statement is not required but is encouraged.
  • By entering this contest, you give the Independence Institute the right to publish images of your artwork.
  • All artwork will be returned to entrants (unless permission is granted for the silent auction) and will be available at the Independence Institute for pick-up after April 27.

Silent Auction

  • Semi-finalists will have the option of including their artwork in a silent auction to be held at the Founders’ Night Dinner.
  • Money from the auction of the artist’s original work will be split 50/50 between the artist and the Independence Institute.
  • Artists may choose to include a reserve price for their piece.
  • All semi-finalists will have the option of purchasing one additional ticket to Founders’ Night 2017 at the discounted rate of $100.

Judging Criteria
The theme is a celebration of fossil fuels. Entries will be judged based on the following elements:

  • How well the artist communicates the theme to viewers
  • The level of creativity and originality used in interpreting the theme
  • The quality of the composition and overall work

There will be three semi-finalists and one winner. Limit one entry per person.  There is no entry fee and purchase of Founders’ Night Dinner tickets is not required to enter. Prize(s) are non-transferable and not redeemable for any other prize.  Need not be present to win. Winner assumes any and all liability for prize(s) including taxes, maintenance, etc. The Independence Institute will take all reasonable precautions with artwork submissions but is not responsible for any incidental damage, theft or loss.

Contact tracy@i2i.org with any questions.