Celebrate The West

Celebrate the West is a regional art competition hosted by the Western Governors' Association that challenges high school students to create works inspired by their state. The 2021 State Finalists and Overall Winners have been announced.

2023 Competition Guidelines and Application

Application window for the 2023 Celebrate the West                               art competition opens Jan. 9

The Western Governors’ Foundation is excited to launch the 2023 Celebrate the West regional art competition, sponsored by Americans for the Arts.

The annual competition, now in its eighth year, challenges high school students to create original works inspired by their state. Students are encouraged to think about what the West means to them, what it means to call the West home, what they learned about its complex past, and what they imagine its future may look like.

Check out the winning artwork from previous years, here. You can also tune into a new episode of WGA's 'Out West' podcast to hear what inspired last year's winner, and from one of the art experts on last year's judging panel, about what went into the decision process.   

The competition is open to high school students in the 17 Western states and two U.S. territories whose Governors participate in the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association (WGA).

To enter the competition, students must live in one of the 17 Western states and two U.S. territories whose Governors participate in the bipartisan WGA and be enrolled in grades 9-12. Once completed, their work must be submitted using a digital entry form. The deadline for all submissions is April 30, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. MST.  

WGA's panel of art experts will select one finalist from each state and territory. State Winners will receive $200 and compete for overall First ($1,500), Second ($750), and Third Place ($500) Awards at the regional level, as well as as well as a People's Choice award.

Governors may also offer students additional opportunities for recognition. They often meet with winners and finalists, as well as display winning entries in the state capitol or other public spaces. 

State winners will be announced on or before May 19. Voting for The People's Choice Award will open on May 24, with the winners being announced on June 7. Regional winners will be announced on June 9 and may be displayed at the Western Governors’ Association’s annual meeting on June 26-28, 2023 in Boulder, Colorado

The Western Governors’ Foundation will also award one participating teacher its Chairman’s Award for Outstanding High School Art Educator, which includes a prize of $300.

Judging Criteria


The original artwork must be two-dimensional. Eligible media include: painting (oil, watercolor, acrylic, etc.), drawing (pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, ink, markers, pastels, etc.) lithography, silkscreen, mixed media, computer graphics, and collage. No photography or video-based submissions will be accepted.

The un-framed artwork submitted shall not be smaller than 8” x 10” and shall not be larger than 24” x 36” unless prior approval is given to the student by WGF. 

WGA takes plagiarism and forgery very seriously. All artwork goes through a rigorous vetting process to ensure originality and confirm the work does not violate any U.S. copyright laws. “Original” is defined as artwork that 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 either online or offline. 

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