Yuri's Night art contest call for entries: Win a Zero-G flight on the Ilyushin 76!


(Photo: I co-hosted one of the previous year's Yuri's Night events, in Houston. It was a blast. Plastered cosmonauts plastered me with Yuri Gagarin stick-on tattoos.)

The folks behind Yuri's Night, an annual global space party that celebrates peace through space exploration, are looking for your creative help to design an awesome new ad campaign to get people to care about space. Yuri's Night's Loretta Hidalgo-Whitesides invited me to be one of the judges and I happily accepted. This year's celebration is a special one: it marks 50 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first human to leave earth for space.

Loretta says,

The Space Exploration Advertisement Competition will award a 4-day tour of Moscow, Russia, including a microgravity flight in an Ilyushin-76 aircraft, to an artist, designer or creative individual who creates a print ad which best captures the wonder of space and demonstrates the potential to best inspire the public. The winner will be judged by a celebrity panel of space notables, but entries will also be eligible for a fan-voted People's Choice Award with another exciting set of prizes.
My co-judge is Ariel Waldman of Spacehack.org, about whom Pesco blogged recently. Contest details follow, along with word of two additional contests you can enter with even more totally awesome space prizes:

As we celebrate 50 years of human space exploration on Yuri's Night this April 12th, it is more important than ever to ensure that humankind continues to explore the final frontier. This ad could be a poster, magazine advertisement, postcard etc. that will inspire and empower people to go to space and create an inspiring future for humanity.

We want a piece that summons a sense of wonder at the utter vastness of the cosmos and our overwhelmingly fragile place in it. We want a piece that that awakens a feeling of unity with all mankind, and that we are up to the challenge of becoming a species worthy of settling the galaxy - and that Yuri's launch was merely the first step in an endless human journey to the stars.

The winner would capture the spirit and tone of the 3 minute YouTube Video "NASA - The Frontier is Everywhere" in a print medium to spread the meme to another million people.

Deadline: Submit your art on or before April 15th. Entries are accepted via Facebook: you just need to post the .jpg or equivalent to the Yuri's Night Facebook page before that date. You can view entries here. The entry with the most 'likes' gets a special People's Choice Award. The winning artist, as selected by judges (including me!), gets a free trip to Russia to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre where they'll experience floating weightless on the Ilyushin 76 Cosmonaut training aircraft.


( Image above: Aaron Muszalski, shot by Scott Beale, at Yuri's night 2007.)

Separately, the Yuri's Night folks are also offering a Russian Space Tour Sweepstakes, with a grand prize of a trip to view a Soyuz liftoff from the steppes of Kazakhstan from Baikonur. The deadline for this one is also April 15th.

And finally, there's the "Open Luna Video Contest," an open source competition to engage the public to create tribute videos for the 50th Anniversary of Human Spaceflight to share at Yuri's Night events around the world. The prize on that one is $500, and again, an April 15 deadline.

Go to yurisnight.net/contests to sign up for the sweepstakes and to get more information on the ad contest.


  1. anyone know a good yuri’s night party in SoCal from past years?

    It’s my favorite holiday, my birthday, and I’m Russian…there’s gotta be a T-shirt for that (one that dictates kissing)

  2. Note on the second photo: I’ve always thought that an original Imac, hollowed out, would make a neat-o space helmet.

    On the first pic: Whoa!! :D

  3. Yes, a few YN LA events. Speeches at Griffith Observatory 7:30-9:00. Afterparty at Wood and Vine with astro-DJ, visuals, “cosmo”naut drink specials, and of course Yuri tattoos. Details for Griffith online, for Wood and Vine http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122398501170373 (to be added to the official party list soon!). I will be at both- Loretta Whitesides, Yuri’s Night Co-Creator

  4. OOOOOHHHHHH! I thought you meant a different kind of yuri when I first read the title. We’re just planning to have a astronomy night (Weather permitting!).

  5. What kind of chaser is normally required when Boing Boing staff post hot pictures of themselves?

  6. 50 years later, the Russians are still launching people into space on a modernized version of the same booster that sent Yuri into orbit. In the US, on the other hand we are flailing about trying to figure out if and how we’re going to keep putting people into orbit, and how many years THIS gap in our launch schedule will be.

    1. Yuri’s Night will be celebrated at the Academy of Sciences with the Space Cowboys and friends on Thursday April 7th.

  7. Here in DC — the ostensible HQ of all things U.S./space-related — the “official” Yuri’s Night party at the Goddard Space Center has been canceled due to lack of interest. On the other hand, the semi-official, kick-ass “Countdown to Yuri’s Night” party — featuring space-themed burlesque, tiki cocktail-dispensing robots and so much more — is nearly sold out. It’s where DC’s space-nerd policy wonks *actually* go on Yuri’s Night, a real DC insider’s secret. I’d post a link, but I’m not doing this to spam or promote — just to let folks know how their elected space policy officials party down on Yuri’s Night. And good for them — every year, that party seriously bumps!

  8. Hi to the world and especially Russia…I spent nearly six months in Orenburg where Yuri Gagarin graduated and married His wife Valentina on that very same day…I, just happened to be in Orenburg as my Husband who reads, speaks and writes fluent Russian was working there on a Civil Engineering project for Gasprom…I guess it was fate that I should be where Yuri and Valentina once lived and was delighted…We, got back to our birth nation SRI LANKA within the last quarter of 2010…
    This is true, I was born on 13th April 1961 just after midnight of the 12th and little did I know about the historical significance of my birth and my subsequent meeting with Dear Late Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Teroshkova Russia’s 1st female cosmonaut in Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was known back then; in the Hill Capital of my country Kandy when they embarked on their World Tour…
    I’m delighted that this April 12th 2011 marks 50 years since Yuri circumnavigated Earth in 108 minutes and I turn 50 too…Am proud of my moment of glory as a toddler aged 1 and sincerely love Russia and it’s people…I do posses one out of two photographs (B & W)…The other in which Yuri is carrying me is yet to be located…April, marks the saddest and happiest times of my earthly life…I, so wish I could have really known Yuri and His family and met Madame Teroshkova in Moscow…This is my dream that I, might be able to see Earth the same way as both Dear Yuri and Madame Valentina Teroshkova saw it from space…I do thank GOD for this gift from Russia and my moment of sheer glory with such Iconic figures in history…GOD BLESS YURI GAGARIN and Madame Valentina Teroshkova…Pasiba, and Dasvidanya…

  9. There’s a big Yuri’s Night party here too:

    The Other Door
    10437 Burbank Blvd
    North Hollywood

    One of the bar owners is the son of the engineer who kept placing duct tape in the Apollo capsules as a joke, and pointed it out to the rest of the Apollo 13 team when it turned out to be vital to bringing the crew back alive.

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