How do I enter work in PYAA?

Start as early as possible! 

Entries are only open from January to November. (Tip: start saving the work you’ve been creating over the past couple of months, so you’ll already have a working portfolio to choose from!)

Entries for 2021 open on January 1st 

On and after this date, students may create an account and begin uploading their work. If you’re an educator, you may also create an account on or after January 1st in order to register your students. 

Start creating!

PYAA looks for original works that show cultivated proficiency, artistry, technical skill, and work that expresses students’ individualistic, creative voices and visions. Once you have created your work(s), you may then upload your submissions to your PYAA account. 

What else should you know?


For a student to be eligible to enter, they must be in grades 7–12, ages 13 years or older. We accept applicants from all countries.


Blind Judging:

PYAA entries are judged without ANY knowledge of the student’s identity. To ensure this, please double check that your entry does not contain any personal information before submitting!


Judging Criteria: 

Be original! Be authentic! Be Bold! 

Here are some things we’re looking for in entries:

    • work that defies artistic conventions
    • work that challenges traditional artistic expectations
    • work that subverts genres and tropes
    • work that surprises us, startles us, makes us think
    • work that defines and articulates emotions in new, exciting ways
    • technical proficiency and skill (dependent upon the genre/category)
    • work that pioneers unique, compelling personal styles, voices, and POVs
    • work that speaks to larger, powerful truths about the human condition
    • work that challenges us through provoking the unfamiliar or profound
    • work that expresses ideas in contemporary, innovative ways

Copyright and Plagarism

We only accept work that is original to the artist and in no way copied, reproduced, or plagiarized. 

NIDA provides a great definition of what PLAGIARISM is:

“Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of others and presenting them as your own. Such activity represents a form of fraud. It can take many forms, from deliberately seeking academic advantage by replicating the work of others, to accidentally copying from a source without acknowledgement.”


Gold medals are awarded to exceptional works receiving the highest honors

Silver medals are awarded to outstanding works receiving second highest honors

Honorable Mentions are awarded to works demonstrating great artistic promise and potential

How to Apply

Your submission should meet one of the categories outlined below and be submitted via the Submittable page.

There is a $5 charge per entry after JuneAny submissions before June will have the $5 entry fee waived. 

All contestants are automatically considered for the scholarship program.



PYAA is all about expressing and celebrating progressive values. There are many avenues to explore but PYAA focuses on the following:

Gender Rights: we are looking for work that highlights or gives insight to gender inequality. Inequalities can be expressed along economic, political, cultural, and personal dynamics.
LGBTQ: there is nothing more fundamental to preserving freedom and equality than protecting individuals’ identities. At PYAA, we believe this identity includes one’s sexual identity.
Equal Rights: we believe the way forward is to build a society where one’s family background or racial/ethnic identity is not a hindrance to participation in society. PYAA looks for work that celebrates our differences as well as work that explores the problems of racism and discrimination.
Sustainability: protecting the environment is but a step towards our ultimate goal of creating a happy and healthy society and world. PYAA is looking for work that highlights problems and solutions to building a sustainable world.
Personal Progression: it all starts with getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. We believe art is the greatest tool for helping us get to this place. Breaking out of our comfort zone is something we all need and we celebrate individuals who can help us become our better selves.


Category Description: Art that is made on a two-dimensional surface.

    • Examples (including but not limited to): Pencil, ink, charcoal, pastel, crayon, scratchboard, marker, etc.
    • Special Instructions: Drawing made from published photographs are not accepted.
    • Submissions: You can upload one image for each Drawing.

Mixed Media

Category Description: Art made using more than one medium.

    • Examples (including but not limited to): Collage, assemblage, cut paper, fabric, fiber-based art, etc.
    • Special Instructions: Mixed media of just painting and drawing should be submitted to the painting or drawing category. Mixed media work meant to be viewed from multiple angles should be submitted to the Sculpture category.
    • Submissions: You can upload four images for each Mixed Media submission.


    • Examples (including but not limited to) : Oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, tempera, ink, encaustic, fresco, spray paint, etc. applied on canvas, canvas board, paper or any flat surface.
    • Special Instructions: Drawing made from published photographs are not accepted.
    • Submissions: You can upload one image for each Painting submission.


Category Description: Images captured by any type of camera.

    • Special Instructions: Submitting multiple similar images conveying the same theme is not recommended. The best photograph from a series should be selected for submission.
    • Submissions: Students may enter up to 10 individual photo submissions.


    • Example (including but not limited to): clay, metal, wood, found material etc.
    • Special Instructions: For sculptural pieces, multiple photos from different angles may be submitted.