I’m an artist and I love the river! Why are you calling me?

Every September, JRA gears up for one of our VERY favorite events: the annual fall migration of the Atlantic sturgeon in the James River!

The Atlantic sturgeon’s story in the James is as epic as a myth but as real as they come. This amazing fish, which has existed since the era of the dinosaurs, was once thought to have reached extinction in the James after commercial harvesting decimated their population in the late 1800s. Continued threats including boat propellers, ship strikes, by-catch, and sediment pollution also contributed to their absence from the James until the early 2000s, whenthanks to a focused restoration effort involving several incredible partnersthey started resurfacing. Literally!


I’m interested. What’s up with these sturgeon trips?

Because of this “Great Return”, JRA has been providing annual sturgeon sighting trips during James River Week in September. This trips offer the opportunity to see Atlantic sturgeon magically spring from the waters of our river to breach (just like whales) during their fall migration from the Atlantic Ocean!

We’ve decided to step these trips up the fish ladder for 2023 by not only offering the chance to see the sturgeon but by also commemorating these spectacular survivors with something you can enjoy forever and ever: an Atlantic sturgeon tee.

We have the idea, now we just need the design! That’s where YOU come in.


I’m VERY interested . . . what exactly do I have to do?

Show us your art! We are collecting original design ideas for our Atlantic sturgeon tee starting on Tuesday, June 20th and running through Thursday, July 13th.

In order to be considered, submissions must be:


  • Completely original artwork
  • Limited to a one or two-color design
  • Able to fit on the front of a shirt
  • Submit a .png file for the contest, but able to provide an .AI or .EPS file if chosen as a winner

Themes to consider when creating your design:

  • Atlantic sturgeon*!
  • Pontoon boats!
  • Atlantic sturgeon breaching!
  • How the return of the Atlantic sturgeon to the James River signifies improved river health
  • How the Atlantic sturgeon is a symbol for the positive impact that humans can make when they come together in partnership and preservation

*Just a note to do your research when crafting your Atlantic sturgeon design as there are other types of sturgeon!

Once we’ve collected design submissions, we’ll turn them over to the general public to vote for their favorite! This poll will run from July 18 through August 1. After the winner is selected, we’ll offer the official tee for purchase, starting in early August and running through James River Week (which ends on Saturday, September 16). Proceeds from all tee sales will come back to JRA so that we can keep the comeback coming!


So what happens if I fin? I mean win?

The winner of our Atlantic sturgeon design contest will not only be awarded with bragging rights, local fame, and the coveted title of “James Changer”, they will also receive a free tee featuring their design and two free spots on any 2023 “Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon” trip!