I was pondering the state of things, and wanted to throw this out there: we've got enough people with ideas and enough other people with ability around here to pool our resources, if necessary. Why should someone have to come up with both with the idea and the artwork? A collaborative kind of contest might be fun and encourage a more community involvement, if that is the end goal (fun & community spirit).
Cartoon strip where people fill in 3-5 blocks with their own images for a given theme. You could also do one where people are asked to provide a caption (or captions) that go along with a general image. Sort of like the contest in The New Yorker where readers come up with their own concept of what is being shown in the cartoon, and everyone votes on the one they like the best.Leverage Wordle
It's how I generated most of the components for my entries. Maybe when the VCAs roll around next time, a month or so prior there could be a contest to generate Word Cloud images for each category. You could either give people the text they should use, or let them do whatever they want. It would give the VCAs a little extra air of fun and games, maybe some more (positive) attention and make the various threads for each category have a cool looking theme. Wordle is actually kind of addictive, one you start playing with it...like Bejeweled, only without victory music.