Visual arts contests
You know those cool little cartoons at the top of the Google search page? Once a year, that doodle is the prizewinning entry from a K–12 student, judged in five grade groups. Entries are due by March 5 in the United States (other countries have their own contests) using Google’s entry form. Entries must include the Google logo but can use any medium. Judges will select 54 state and territory winners for Googley swag. The public then votes to determine the five national finalists from among the 54. One winner will receive a $30,000 scholarship and a $50,000 technology package for their school. Entry is free but limited to one per student.
The Pennsylvania-based Ned Smith Center holds an annual international wildlife art contest, with a different theme each year. The contest is open to students in grades 1–12, with four winners in each of four age categories, plus a Best in Show winner. (There is also an all-ages photography contest, but at least for its inaugural 2021 theme, photos must be taken on the premises.) Entries are due at the beginning of June, with winners announced in July. Cost to enter is $10.
U.S. Kids holds an annual themed magazine-cover design contest. The contest is open to ages 2–12, with entries grouped into two age categories. The winners’ art is used for the front covers of Jack and Jill (age 6–12 category) and Humpty Dumpty (ages 2–6) magazines, with second-place, third-place and Readers’ Choice winners’ art showcased inside the same issue; cash prizes are awarded to the art departments of the winners’ schools. Entries are due in early February. There is no cost to enter, but only one entry per child is accepted.
For those who dislike structure, the WorldWide Kids Drawings contest has no theme, deadline or age limits. Entries are submitted on a rolling basis, and winners are announced whenever the website updates. Prizes range from $250 to $1,000. Cost to enter is $20.
Teen Ink is a national magazine that showcases creative works by young people ages 13–19. Teens can submit their work for inclusion inside the magazine or enter the monthly cover image contest. There are no deadlines or fees to enter. Artists will receive a $25 gift card if their image is used on the cover.
Since 1982, the House of Representatives has sponsored a nationwide visual art competition. High school students submit their framed, two-dimensional art to their district’s representative (deadlines may vary by district). Ironically, subject matter cannot be political. There is no entry fee, but participation may incur framing and shipping costs.