Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on Student Art Contests and Competitions

[Adopted March 2016; Reviewed and Revised March 2019; April 2024]

Consolidation and Update of these two statements:

  • NAEA Policy Statement on Involvement in Art Contests and Competitions for Students at the Secondary Level [Adopted April 1998]
  • NAEA Policy on Contests And Competitions [Adopted March 2001]

NAEA believes that participation in educationally relevant and instructionally valuable competitions and contests at all levels of instruction can serve as a positive educational experience. The nature and purpose of any competition should complement a high quality visual arts, media arts, and design education program. Competitions, including juried exhibitions, should meet and support the learning outcomes, needs, interests, and concerns of the visual art students by promoting deeper understanding of art, developing understanding of the presenting process, and allowing for diverse personal expression.

NAEA extends the following guidelines in regard to competitions:

  • Visual art educators advise students, administration, and parents/guardians whether submission to a particular competition is appropriate for the student based on the level of the student’s work and maturity and the structure of the competition.
  • Visual art educators assist the students in understanding the competition’s rules for entry; specific criteria upon which the art will be juried; and that the evaluation/ assessment is on the art submitted and not on the artist as a person.
  • Visual art educators must maintain the privacy of students and not act as agents of student art unless appropriate permission has been obtained for release, publication, and reproduction of student information and art.
  • Competitions should fit within the visual arts education curriculum, meet national, state or local art standards, and be developmentally appropriate.
  • Competitions should require appropriate permission for entry; refuse art that carries doubt as to its authenticity/originality and/or has copyright infringement issues
  • Competition guidelines should clearly delineate the rights that art students may be relinquishing and what compensation is involved.
  • Sponsors should support visual arts education and work with visual art educators to develop competitions that do not require endorsement of particular products or businesses and refrain from exploiting students and their art.

Visual art competitions should be evaluated and implemented at the discretion of the visual art educator. Entry in or the winning of any art contests or competitions should not be used as criteria for the judgment or evaluation of the effectiveness of Art Educators. In addition, school administrators, art administrators, and art educators should never use competitions or contests as a means of comparison or value of art educators.

Participation in competitions should be optional for students. Visual art educators should identify ways for the school and/or competition sponsors to recognize all students whose work is submitted for public competitions outside of the school.


NAEA Position Statement on the Ethical use of Copyrighted Imagery and Primary Sources [Adopted April 2014] -