Green-minded artists have been creating environmentally-inspired art in innovative, unexpected ways, from upcycling salvaged audio cassettes to graffiting Regent’s Canal in London to depicting CO2 emissions. Now, some of that that creative green thinking’s about to get rewarded and recognized by the environmental nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, which is offering its first ever NRDC Environmental Art Prize!

Not all the artworks I just mentioned are eligible for this prize though. The winning artist’s prize is a chance to feature his or her work in an exhibition at New York’s Nabi Gallery in June and July, 2010 — which means the artworks have to be paintings, drawings, prints, or mixed media pieces that will fit neatly into the gallery. Photos, sculptures, videos, and conceptual or performance art pieces aren’t eligible.

Want to enter? Select six environmentally-themed art works — keeping in mind that “the goal of the prize is to remind viewers of the earth’s natural beauty and to draw attention to the serious environmental threats facing our planet.” Then upload images of them to Flickr and tag them “nrdcartprize” by April 6, 2010. On Earth Day, you’ll find out if you’re one of the finalists selected by the jury. The winner will be announced in May.

Curious to check out the competition — or just to see what contemporary eco artists are up to these days? Just search for the “nrdcartprize” tag on Flickr to see all the entries. So far, the Environmental Art Prize has one entry — from Zach and Kim DeBord, of the creative team Fade to Future — which you can see above. Visit their Flickr page to see bigger versions of the work.

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