Celebrate the West Art Competition Now Accepting Submissions


The sixth annual Celebrate the West art competition challenges high school students to create works inspired by their state

STATEWIDE – Celebrate the West is a regional art contest that has been hosted by the Western Governors’ Association for the past six years. Students are asked to convey what their state means to them, how they are artistically inspired by their state, or the uniqueness of living in the West.

The visual arts challenge is open to high school students (Grades 9-12) in the 17 Western states and three U.S. territories whose Governors participate in the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association (WGA). Previous winners have been from Idaho, North Dakota, Utah, Kansas, and Arizona, along with individual winners from each participating state.

Image courtesy of WGA

Entrants will create original two-dimensional artwork inspired by their state or informed by living in the West. Students may draw ideas from a variety of sources, including state history, landmarks, natural resources, National Parks and Monuments, people, communities, and culture.

“Original artwork” is defined as artwork which is unique in concept, design, and execution, and is created directly and personally by the Student. “Original” work is not a copy or imitation of another person’s work or images found on the internet.

Paloma Link of Idaho won first place in 2020 for the acrylic painting, Boise River in Spring. Image courtesy of WGA.

Here’s how “Celebrate the West” works:

The deadline for entry is April 30, 2021. Students will submit a digital copy of their entry via email (WGAart@westgov.org). Entries may be scanned, a digital photo, etc. WGA staff and Denver area art experts will select “State Finalists” from each state and territory.

The State Finalists will be displayed in an online competition in conjunction with this year’s WGA Governors’ Annual Meeting to be held May 14-16, 2021 in Sunriver, Oregon. Finalists will compete for First ($1,500), Second ($750), and Third Place ($500) Awards voted on by meeting attendees, which include governors and their staff, and WGA sponsors. Remaining State Finalists win $200.

Students may have the opportunity to have their artwork displayed in their home state’s capitol building and meet with their governor, subject to scheduling and availability.

The online competition will conclude May 21, 2021, and students will be notified of the results on that date. Go to WGA’s website www.westgov.org to see prior winners. Entry is free, and framing, matting, and shipping charges are paid for by WGA.

Celebrate the West is open to high school students from Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.

Have a question? Ready to enter? You MUST send an Entry Form (found below) and a digital copy (PNG, JPG, PDF, BMP, TIF) of your artwork via email to WGAart@westgov.org. Email WGAart@westgov.org or call 303-623-9378 for answers to any questions.

Download Entry Form (Required)
Read, Download the Complete Rules

Are you a teacher? Download this flyer to share with students.

***One participating teacher will be selected the Western Governors’ Foundation Chairman’s Award for Outstanding High School Art Teacher, with a prize of $300 to be awarded to the winning teacher!

Image courtesy of WGA

About Author

Sarah Dean is the Press and Public Engagement Coordinator with the Governor's Communications Office.

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