The America the Beautiful Quarters Program will reach its sixth year in 2015 with five new reverse designs featuring the Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska, Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana, Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware, and Saratoga National Historical Park in New York. At a meeting held on February 20, 2014, the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) reviewed design candidates provided by the United States Mint and offered their recommendations.
The design candidates had been reviewed earlier on February 11 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) who had also offered their recommendations. The authority to select the final designs rests with the Secretary of the Treasury.
For the Homestead National Monument Quarter, the CFA supported the recommendation of the CCAC for a modified version of candidate HP-02. This design shows the three fundamentals essential to survival for homesteaders: food, shelter, and water. There are thirty stars to symbolize the 30 states that participated in the Homestead Act. The suggested modifications to the design included the elimination of the stars, the reduction in the size of the corn husks, and the insertion of the phrase “Free Land” as an arc of text at the top of the composition.
The CFA recommended candidate KNF-05 for the Kisatchie National Forest Quarter. A wild turkey in flight is depicted over blue stem grass with long leaf pine in the background. The Commission found this design to carry the best combination of animal species and habitat with a clearly legible distinction of foreground and background elements.
From the six design candidates presented for the Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter, the CFA offered no recommendation. The Commission expressed concern that the characteristic curvatures of the parkway were not accurately rendered in any of the candidates. They encouraged the inclusion of an automobile within the design to indicate the parkway’s use and also commented favorably on the scene presented in alternative BRP-07 while suggesting a reduction in size of the foreground figures. Finally, they discouraged the selection of a design including the Linn Cove Viaduct (BRP-01, BRP-05, BRP-06, BRP-08) since it is an atypical feature of the parkway.
The CFA offered two recommendations for the Bombay Hook National Refuge Quarter, supporting both BH-06 and BH-08 for their depiction of the site’s characteristic aquatic birds. The former includes a depiction of a great blue heron in the foreground and an egret in the background. The latter depicts a great blue heron in flight. The CFA commented that BH-06 may be the most elegant composition which could be improved by eliminating the bird at the left of the design.
For the Saratoga National Historical Park Quarter, the CFA supported the recommendation of the CCAC for a modified version of SNHP-03, which shows a close-up of the sword surrender. The suggested modification was to change the text to “British Surrender 1777”.
The complete set of design candidates evaluated by the Commission of Fine Arts appears below.
Homestead National Monument of America Quarter Design Candidates
Kisatchie National Forest Quarter Design Candidates
Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter Design Candidates
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter Design Candidates
Saratoga National Historical Park Quarter Design Candidates