As we go back to school, many young artists are on the look out for places to showcase their work. Maybe you’ve already heard of some contests from your parents or teachers, or maybe you’ve even started researching them on your own--kudos to you. Contests and publications are brilliant ways to get your art out there and begin making a name for yourself.
Some of the benefits for an artist entering a competition include:
Recognition from a wider audience
Your art being published in a book/magazine
Something to put on your resume/college application
and many more. These are wonderful opportunities for young artists, however, many many contests don’t even allow artists under 18. While we respect every publisher’s choice to put an age restriction on their contests, this can be insanely disheartening for artists under 18 who want to get their foot in the door of the art world. Many gallery shows require you to have had work published or shown somewhere beforehand, but how are we supposed to do that if no one will permit young artists to show their work? Many others also have enormous submission costs, eliminating work from artists who struggle financially.
Luckily, not all art contests operate this way. Contests for young artists are becoming much more popular, however it still required quite a bit of scouring for us to find the ones listed here. We hope this list will be beneficial to you and give you a clean and easy way to put your art out into the world. The contests and competitions in the following list are either especially for young artists, or don’t have any age restraint at all. Some include submission fees and/or are limited to U.S. residents.
GLOBAL CANVAS - Children’s Wildlife Art Competition
Submission fee: FREE
Submission deadline: February 2nd, 2021
Age restriction: 16 and under
The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation is dedicated to art and wildlife conservation. The Global Canvas theme for 2021 is “Healing Nature - a planet on the edge.” Submissions must be made in a group format, more information can be found on their website. This organization does wonderful work for wildlife conservation and promoting artists.
WILDLIFE ARTIST OF THE YEAR - Human Impact
Submission fee: £15
Submission deadline: February 15th, 2021
Age restriction: 17 years to 22 years at closing date of competition
Also hosted by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, the Wildlife Artist of the Year is an annual contest celebrating artists and bringing attention to wildlife conservation. All artists over 17 can enter into the Wildlife Artist of the Year contest, but the Human Impact category is specifically for those ages 17-22. Submissions will open on the 23rd of September, and artists worldwide can enter.
SCHOLASTIC ART & WRITING AWARDS
Submission fee: $5-$10, varies by year, fee waivers available
Submission deadline: Beginning of January, 2021
Age restriction: 13 and up, grades 7-12
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are very well-known for their annual contest for middle/high schoolers! These awards come with recognition, scholarships, and notoriety. There are categories for both art and writing. You can find more information about how to enter and sign up on their website.
Submission fee: FREE
Submission deadline: December 5th, 2020
Age restriction: In the twelfth grade or under
From their website: "CelebratingArt.com is devoted to the promotion and appreciation of student art. The intent of our student art contests is to motivate student artists. The top entries are published in an anthology that will record the creative works of today's student artists.” CelebratingArt is a wonderful opportunity for student artists looking to get their work published. They run multiple contests throughout the year, so keep checking back to submit more work!
CONGRESSIONAL ART COMPETITION
Submission fee: FREE
Submission deadline: Contact your representative
Age restriction: High schoolers
The Congressional Art Competition is very unique; despite its difficult submission process, the rewards are well worth it. To enter artists must contact their representative to learn about the deadline and theme for that year. Winning artists are recognized in an awards ceremony in the United States Capitol, Washington D.C., and have their art on display in the Capitol building for one year.
NATIONAL YOUNGARTS FOUNDATION
Submission fee: $35, fee waivers available
Submission deadline: October 16th, 2020
Age restriction: 15-18
The National YoungArts Foundation is looking for portfolios including 10 images that represent eight (8) to ten (10) of your best works from the last two years. This portfolio should explore a cohesive idea, technique, or theme. Although it requires quite a bit of work, this competition has incredible rewards, such as cash prizes and national recognition.
This concludes YAM's list of contests being run for young artists. If you know of any contests that have been missed, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list! We hope you’ve found this list beneficial. If you’d like more articles similar to this one, send us feedback via email. If any of you submit your work and win, tell us so we can celebrate with you! And if contests aren’t your thing, remember that your work will always be welcome in the YAM.
This article was written by Abby Hope for the Young Artist’s Magazine. © 2020