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. See their artwork here. 

2024 Competition Guidelines and Application

Application window for the 2024 Celebrate the West art competition opens January 8.

The Western Governors’ Foundation is excited to launch the 2024 Celebrate the West regional art competition.

The annual competition, now in its ninth 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.


  • Students must live in one of the 17 Western states and three U.S. territories whose Governor participates in the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association.
  • Students must be enrolled in grades 9-12

Art Work Guidelines:

  • 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.           

Submit your work:

  • Submit all entries using this digital entry form. The deadline for all submissions is April 1, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. MST.  

Judging and Awards:

WGA's panel of art experts will select one finalist from each state and territory, as well as Overall First Place, Second Place, and Third Place winners based on the following criteria:

Judging Panel 

Christine Ogsbury: Christine Ogsbury founded Celebrate the West in 2015 with her husband, former Executive Director of WGA and current President of the Western Governors’ Foundation, Jim Ogsbury. She was recently highlighted in a special podcast episode of Out West, the official podcast of the Western Governors’ Association, where she shares her inspiration behind starting Celebrate the West, and shares some of her favorite memories from the program. Click here to listen. Christine is a graduate of Arizona State University, and has a background as a corporate paralegal. SHe is currently enjoying retired life in Maui.  

Sharon Rouse: Sharon Rouse is a long-time docent at the Denver Art Museum and a leader on the board of Colorado Art Awards, a part of Scholastic Art and Writing national program.  Throughout her Visual Art education career in public and private schools, she established working programs for students  that inspired and cultivated their talents and  appreciation of the arts.  Upon retirement, she continued to teach  the Visual Arts as an Art Education Student Supervisor for Metro State University. 


Mark Salinas: Mark Salinas is the Public Art Program Manager for the City of Berkeley, California and is responsible for the municipal development and implementation of public art policies, procedures, and programming. A strong believer in transparent and inclusive practices, he created The First Lady Presents in 2021, an online arts education initiative promoting the visibility of artists from non-dominant communities in Nevada. Mark is also a recipient of the 2019 Nevada Humanities Rising Star Award and the 2022 Nevada Governor’s Point of Light Award.

Toby Zikmund: Toby Zikmund was selected to participate in the prestigious Western Governors’ Leadership Institute as a North Dakota State Delegate in 2023. Apart from being recognized by our Governors as a rising young leader, Toby has his Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis on painting and is an artist himself. He is currently living in France as part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). 


Judging Critera

  • Overall First Place - $1,500
  • Overall Second Place - $750
  • Overall Third Place - $500
  • People’s Choice - $250
  • State Finalists - $200  

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.

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. 


  • April 15 2024: State winners announced
  • April 19-May 3 2024: Voting for The People’s Choice Award
  • May 10 2024: All winners announced, along with Chairman’s award for Outstanding High School Art Educator
  • June 10-12 2024: Overall First, Second, and Third place winners displayed at the Annual Meeting of the Western Governors’ Association in Olympic Valley, California.

Need inspiration?

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 from Celebrate the West founder Christine Ogsbury about her inspiration behind starting the program and some of her most memorable moments.

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