Top Art Competitions for High School Students

This article will give you all of the essential details for top art competitions for high school students. As the cold weather rolls in, we can’t help but gear up for indoor activities and say goodbye to our outdoor athletics season. Some of us even welcome this change. Winter is an opportunity to hone your fine skills. Maybe this is a chance for you to make yourself a piping hot cup of hot cocoa and sharpen your graphite pencils. A snow day may actually be the subject of your latest painting. A tree embracing the changing seasons could be the muse of an upcoming sculpture. Even if you find yourself objecting to the bitter winds and creeping cold, you have to admit that it’s hard not to be swept up in all of the opportunity for self-improvement during this season.

Today, we would like to celebrate the arts and highlight top art competitions. Don’t get us wrong, we know that mastering the arts is a full-time commitment and we admire all of the artists in our lives. But today, we would like to cozy up with a steaming mug of chocolatey goodness and take the opportunity to recognize 3 of our top art competitions for young artists. It’s just that kind of day!

For our readers interested in entering these top art competitions, please follow the links in each heading. They will take you to the necessary pages for additional entry information. If you have questions about how to strengthen your profile for top art programs, please reach out! We look forward to speaking with you!

Doodle for Google:

For years, users of Google have been entertained, educated, and enthralled by the search engines ever changing home page. One for each holiday, no matter how obscure, and then many more for other dates of note. Sometimes, the doodle even turns out to be a game! Doodle for Google is just what the name suggests. Contestants are asked to create a doodle to be used on the google homepage. The recognition of having their doodle featured on the immensely popular site isn’t the end of their rewards! Prizes include new devices and large scholarships!

This top art competition has 3 different levels:

  • Level 1 – 54 total winners move on from this level and advance as State and Territory winners. Their doodles are given ranking based on feedback from independent guest judges and Google doodler artists. Non-winners in this level are each awarded an Android tablet.
  • Level 2 – 5 winners are selected during this round and move on to the final round. Public votes are held for each entry as well as feedback from Google Doodler artists and guest judges. The winner of this level, goes on to Level 3 as a National Contestant. Non-winners are each awarded an Android tablet.
  • Level 3 – 1 winner is chosen by a panel of Google Employees. This winner will be awarded a $30,000 college scholarship, to be used at the school of their choice! They will also win their school $50,000 in value towards establishment improvements. Additionally, they become the proud owner of a brand new Chromebook and Android tablet! The contestants who do not win are still awarded a $5,000 college scholarship, a new Chromebook, and a new Android tablet.

The requirements for entry are as follows:

  • No offensive, derogatory, disparaging, or inappropriate against any group or person.
  • No unlawful material or content in violation of or contrary to all applicable laws, whether they be federal, state, or local.
  • No third party advertising, logos, slogans, trademarks, or characters
  • Contestants must be US Citizens and enrolled in a public or private grade school or homeschooled in the US or a US territory.

Important Dates:

  • The deadline for the 2021 competition year has not yet been released. Keep an eye out for a March date!

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Moving onto our next competition, this one is a little less structured than Doodle for Google. For the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, students have the option of entering their work in over two dozen different categories. They aren’t limited to one entry either! Students are welcome to enter as many categories as they would like and can even enter entire portfolios! However, there are size limitations for some categories and we encourage all interested to read the fine print to better understand the rules and regulations. 

As stated on the website, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are “the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.” There are 11 different award scholarship categories, with some categories having a number of sub scholarships. However, this competition offers more than just scholarships. Recognition is a significant aspect of entering this prestigious event. This allows students to be recognized for their work on a regional or national level, with separate awards and ceremonies hosting special guests.

The requirements for entry:

  • Must be in grades 7th-12th and at least 13+ years old.
  • Must include entry fees
    • $7 per each entry
    • $25 per portfolio
    • Fee Waivers are available!

Important Dates:

  • Entries opened on September 1st, 2020.
  • The deadline for 2021 entries is December 1st, 2020.

Thinking ahead? Entries for 2022 open next year on September 1st, 2021!

National YoungArts Foundation

Last but certainly not least, the National YoungArts Foundation is the third and final competition we will be discussing today. The prizes are exceptionally unique for students, with highly respected artists available as mentors to winning students. Winners join a community of over 20,000 talented artists as well as receive financial awards. Beyond the financial awards won in this competition, students can also become eligible for nomination as a US Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a program established by President Johnson in 1964 that recognizes the nation’s top graduating high school seniors. 

As with the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, students are welcome to enter in as many categories as they would like, but should note the application fee for each entry as well. As with Doodle for Google, there are different levels of recognition in this competition. In addition to cash prizes, students also receive a medallion, a lifetime of creative and professional support, and access to YoungArts Post. 

  • Merit – Students at this level receive a cash prize of $100
  • Honorable Mention – Students at this level receive a cash prize of $250
  • Finalist – At this level, finalists are categorized into 5 different categories for cash prizes. 
    • Level 1 – Students in this category are awarded $1,000
    • Level 2 – Students in this category are awarded $1,500
    • Level 3 – Students in this category are awarded $3,000
    • Silver – Students in this category are awarded $5,000
    • Gold – Students in this category are awarded $10,000

Requirements for entry:

  • Must be age 15-18 or in grades 10th-12th. Students who have graduated may still apply as long as they are 18 on December 1st of that year.
  • Must be a US Citizen or have permanent residency (a copy of documentation is required to submit your application)
  • Must not have previously attended National YoungArts Week
  • A $35 application fee is required for each application, regardless of discipline or category. Application Fee Waivers are available.

Important Dates:

  • Dates for the 2022 competition have not been solidified yet, but keep an eye out for applications opening Summer 2021.

Are you interested in entering any one of these top art competitions but aren’t sure where to start? Give us a call or shoot us an email! As always, Opus is here to support students and families as they navigate their high school and college application journeys!

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