For Teens

Teen Portrait Competition

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has announced Sara Sonnenblick of Florida and Otto Graunewald of Michigan as the grand-prize winners of the museum’s nationwide Teen Portrait Competition. Inspired by the museum’s triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, the Teen Portrait Competition is open to students between the ages of 13 and 17 residing in the U.S. and its territories. It yielded eight finalists, with Sonnenblick and Graunewald winning the top prize in their respective age categories. Their grand prize-winning photographs will be on view in the Portrait Gallery from July 29 through Feb. 26, 2023.  

View the online exhibition of this year's winners and finalists

Teen Opportunities

Teen Museum Council

The National Portrait Gallery invites you to join its Teen Museum Council. Teen Museum Council is an intensive program for D.C. area teens (grades 9-12) who are interested in developing leadership skills, learning about themselves through portraiture and art, and making the Portrait Gallery an engaging place for teenagers. Teen Museum Council, also known as TMC, is a program for teens by teens to foster more interest in museums and create a community for local teens.

TMC members have the opportunity to work on a variety of activities such as creating teen-centered events, participating in workshops and training sessions with museum professionals, and gain experience at the museum while developing creative and critical thinking skills. Teen Museum Council is a year-long commitment that meets once a week on Wednesdays during the school year.

The Teen Museum Council is on hiatus for the 2022-2023 academic year. Please check back in spring 2023 for updates.

Group photo of the Teen Museum council - a young diverse group of 13 students

For Teens, By Teens

Teen-Led Tours

What does our Teen Museum Council have to say about the Portrait Gallery? Join us for a special tour of our museum as teens share our collection from their perspective. Check our calendar of events (linked) to find out when you can catch the next one!

Two teens in the museum galleries, presenting a video portrait of musician Esparanza Spalding

Teen Night

The annual Paint Ball, created by the Portrait Gallery’s Teen Museum Council, is a teen-only night at the museum with music, food, photo booth, arts and crafts, and many more activities. Teen Museum Council plans this event during the academic year.

Group portrait of teens at the Paint Ball gathering