New River Gorge National River - NPS

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Youth Arts in the Parks

Appalachian Spring Wildflower Art Contest

2021 Contest Overview and Rules

What This Program Is All About:

Youth Arts in the Parks is a student competition that celebrates ecology through art! Through this program and the April art exhibit at Tamarack and online, students have the opportunity as community leaders to raise awareness of Appalachia’s natural diversity and parks. Their works inspire community connections to local ecology and outdoor stewardship. Participants may also have the opportunity to explore the business of art and its role in economic development.

The Youth Arts in the Parks program is part of spring nature event that celebrates the southern West Virginia’s diverse ecology. New River Gorge National River, Tamarack, and several West Virginia state parks partner to host this public event in April and May. This year's festivities will feature new programs and tips to help each of us discover more nature outdoors and online.

2021 Contest Rules:

In light of these uncertain times due to the coronavirus, there are changes to this program. 2021 update to contest rules are below and on the park web site at Youth Arts in the Parks - New River Gorge National River (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov). See this website for contest species checklists.

Who can enter: All students in grades K through 12 from Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, or Summers Counties. Students do not have to enter through their school.

Medium: All entries must be an original work of art in a two-dimensional format, 8" x 10" in size (see details in specific entry categories below). Entry may be created in any art medium type (pencil, ink, acrylic, oil, glass, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, clay, paper, wood, etc.). Three-dimensional art will not be accepted in the 2021 contest year. New for 2021: computer generated art will ONLY be accepted in the 2021 Digital Critter Challenge (see details below).

Wildflower species contest checklist and reference: The wildflower/s depicted MUST be a species from the contest checklist. Some wildflower photo references are available online, though photos shouldn't to be traced or copied. See Wildflower and 2021 Critter Challenge species contest checklist online at Youth Arts in the Parks - New River Gorge National River (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).

Entry categories, size, and quantity: Students can enter in two categories, one piece as an individual entry and/or one piece as part of the new 2021 Digital Art Critter Challenge. Here are the details for each entry category:

Wildflower Art Entry (must be art created by hand)

  • Quantity: Each student can enter one piece in this individual art category. Art will be selected by county.
  • Size: Entry must be two-dimensional art size 8" x 10" ONLY, portrait or landscape in orientation. Do NOT frame or mat art. Entry must not require assembly. Entry must fit completely into a non-padded 9½"x 12" envelope, should return of exhibit art by mail be necessary after the spring exhibit.
  • Art subject: Entry MUST be inspired by a native blooming Appalachian wildflower from the  contest wildflower checklist in this category description. If the art includes a background, it should be representative of the plant’s natural habitat (local forest, river edge, or field) and in the appropriate blooming season. Multiple plants may be included in the piece, but all blooms must be from the contest list. The blossoms should be the focal point of the art, though appropriate wildlife from the same habitat may be included in the piece. It is inappropriate for contest entries to include wildflowers in a pot, picked bouquets, flowers on a bridge or roadway, or with domestic animals. Please remember that a contest goal is to teach people about the region's diverse natural ecology through art. See wildflower species contest checklist at Appalachian Spring Wildflower Art Contest Species Checklist - New River Gorge National River (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).

NEW - 2021 Digital Art Critter Challenge entry (must be art created on a computer)

Art in this category MUST be created on a computer. Photographs can be incorporated into the art entry, but piece can not be a stand-alone photo image. This is an art contest, NOT a photography contest. This challenge will help others learn more about regional wildlife through art.

  • Quantity: Each student can enter one piece in this individual art category. Art will be selected overall.
  • Size: Entry must be two-dimensional digital art size 8" x 10" ONLY, portrait or landscape in orientation. Entry file must be in JPG file format and be no smaller size than 1600 x 1200 pixels.
  • Art subject: Entry MUST be inspired by a creature that lives in the New River Gorge from the contest critter checklist in this category description. If the art includes a background, it should represent the creature’s natural habitat (local forest, field, or river). The creature should be the focal point of the art, though appropriate plants from the same habitat may be included in the piece. It is inappropriate for contest entries to include humans interacting with or handling animals; creatures should not be depicted in a classic human setting, like on a road, in a house or car, on a porch, or at a picnic table. Please remember that a contest goal is to teach people about the region's diverse natural ecology and the wildlife that lives here through art. See digital critter contest species checklist at 2021 Digital Critter Challenge Checklist - New River Gorge National River (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).

Dates and Deadlines:

  • Image submission window: January 2 - February 8, 2021
  • Decision notification (sent via email): February 26, 2021
  • Delivery deadline for accepted work: March 15, 2020
  • Exhibit run:   · Physical exhibit at Tamarack's theater vestibule: April 2 - May 3, 2021   · Online exhibit at www.nps.gov: opens mid-April, 2021   
  • Exhibit and public sale of top five 2021 Best in Show pieces, part of spring adult gallery exhibition at Tamarack's David L. Dickirson Fine Art Gallery: spring 2021
  • Work pick up deadline (does not include top five Best in Show): May 11 - 30, 2021 (NOTE: adjustments will be made to the art pick up/return schedule as needed following regional health safety guidelines at that time.)

How Students Enter Contest:

Read and follow all contest rules or be subject to entry disqualification. See specific species check lists in detailed information about each entry category.

  • Sign in or create a FREE account on the online contest entry platform through Submittable. Use the contest entry link at http://www.nps.gov/neri/youth-arts-in-the-parks.htm.
  • Each entry must be submitted separately. Enter name and contact information in the Submittable text boxes.
  • Upload image of your contest entry. Multiple images of each entry are permissible for the purpose of showing fine details. Image submissions must be in .JPEG format. Image resolution should be at least 300 dpi. One entry per student can be entered separately in each category. Please title your entry Wildflower or Critter_grade_Lastname_Title in accordance with that specific entry category (EXAMPLES: wildflower_6_Smith_StarFlower; critter_Davis_1_River-Otter).
  • Be sure to include title, medium, and brief description in the corresponding Submittable text boxes.
  • You will receive a confirmation email from the Submittable service when your application has been received. If you do not receive a confirmation of receipt, please contact the contest coordinator at jodi_french-burr@nps.gov.

Judging and Awards:

Judging criteria: Art entries must be a creative rendering of an Appalachian spring wildflower/s (MUST be a species from the contest checklist). Works will be judged on the basis of original design, composition, artistic technique, and its representation of a wildflower species.

Judging process: Participants will be notified of contest winners via email by February 26, 2021.  

  • Wildflower art entry category will be judged first at the county level, a jury panel selecting the top five entries from each grade group (K - 2, 3 - 5, 6 - 8, and 9 - 12) in each participating county. These 80 selected wildflower pieces will be included in the contest exhibit. The art selected for this exhibit in this category will also go through a second jury by grade group to pick the top five Best in Show contest entries overall.   
  • 2021 Digital Critters Challenge entry category will be judged overall with 20 critter pieces selected for this exhibit, five from each grade group. The art selected from this category will be highlighted as a special teaching element in this exhibit and are not eligible for the overall Best in Show selection.

Display and certificates for winning entries: All contest artwork juried into the 2021 contest exhibit will be on public display at Tamarack April 2 through May 3, 2021, as well as online at www.nps.gov/neri. Contest winners will be mailed a special certificate. In light of these uncertain times due to the coronavirus, no artist recognition ceremony is scheduled at this time. Should regional health circumstances improve significantly by spring 2021, the artist recognition ceremony will be rescheduled; exhibit artists will be notified of such exciting developments as soon as possible.   

  • Best in Show overall winners: the five pieces selected in the wildflower entry category as Best in Show overall will be displayed and for public sale at Tamarack’s David L. Dickirson Fine Art Gallery spring exhibition These five youth works will be featured alongside the works of adult Tamarack artists. Tamarack staff will assist the top five artists and their families to decide on an appropriate purchase price for their artwork. If any of these five pieces are purchased, 60% of the purchase price will be paid to the individual artist, while 40% will go to Tamarack. If the work is not purchased, the artwork will be returned to the artist after the completion of the gallery show in mid-June.

Note to teachers:

WV CSO connection: This program is also designed to help teachers meet elements of West Virginia Education Content Standards and Objectives. Related subjects can be found at http://wvde.us. Use this website to search for related WV CSOs with such key words as biology, business, career, design, environment, habitat, nature, and plants. Such content connections can be used to further your students’ learning experiences through this contest - even through virtual learning elements.

Additional Questions: 

Contact contest coordinator by email (best) at jodi_french-burr@nps.gov or 304-465-2632.