The 31st Annual George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest was held last November at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va., and featured 350 incredible entries submitted by young artists from all over the United States. Begun in 1987, the Youth Wildlife Art Contest challenges students to create exceptional works of art depicting North American wildlife and offers $7,000 in cash prizes.
The contest started out small with a specific goal: to foster young artists’ enthusiasm for the outdoors through animal-identification skills and to expand their knowledge of the continent’s indigenous wildlife. Over the years the contest has grown in size substantially, and many past winners have gone on to successful careers as professional artists. It makes us proud that the contest’s message has resonated with young artists, who carefully study an animal and hone their techniques to not just accurately depict a species but to give their entry life.
The Youth Wildlife Art Contest is open to any student in grades 1-12, including home-schooled children, and does not require NRA membership to participate. Any North American gamebird or animal that may be legally hunted or trapped is eligible to be depicted. Endangered species and non-game animals, such as eagles and snakes, are not eligible subjects.
In an effort to level the field of competition and recognize skilled artists of all ages besides the most talented high school seniors, the contest is divided into four categories based on school grade. Although many artists begin at different ages and advance at varying rates, grade-based categories are the easiest way to fairly group artists with similar skills. Judges select first-, second- and third-place entries in each category, and award respective prizes of $750, $500, and $250. “Best in Show,” selected from among all entries across all categories, is awarded $1,000.
The George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest offers young artists interested in hunting and wildlife an outlet to use their creative talent, practice artistic techniques and refine wildlife identification skills through the creation of original works. This contest encourages youth to nurture their interest for the visual arts, hunting and wildlife conservation. It also reinforces the positive effects of hunting and wildlife conservation with the public at large. For more information, visit artcontest.nra.org.