Teen Portrait Competition

Rules and Requirements

  • To enter, a teen must be between the ages of 13 and 17 on the day of entry.
  • It is free to enter.
  • Teens must be residents of the United States.
  • Submissions are accepted only via email. Submissions must be emailed to NPG-TeenPortraitCompetition@si.edu . Entrants should email their portrait as a JPEG attachment, and include their first name, last name, school grade, and zip code in the body of the email.  Please also include an artist statement, of 140 words or less, about the submitted work. 
  • Submissions must be the teen's original work alone.
  • All decisions of the judges are final, and no challenges will be permitted.
  • Submitted image must include the likeness of a person. It may be a traditional, representational work or it may be a more experimental portrait, but it must be based on the teen's direct contact with any living individual(s).
  • Self-portraits will be accepted.
  • The only medium accepted for this competition will be photography.
  • Submissions will be accepted through January 15, 2020.

Entry Instructions
Submission must be electronic to the juried competition. Works will be judged electronically. Works must be photographs that can be sent electronically.
Limit: one entry per person. Submissions are accepted only via email. Submissions must be emailed to NPG-TeenPortraitCompetition@si.edu

Who May Enter
The competition is open to all teens between the ages of 13 and 17 on the day of entry, who are legal residents of the United States or its territories with an address in the United States at the time of the competition. Employees, volunteers or interns, Regents, and members of advisory boards of the Smithsonian Institution and their respective immediate families (children, siblings, and spouses), competition sponsors, employees or immediate families of the judges, and their respective agents are not eligible. Winners and their parent or guardian may be required to execute a publicity release and affidavit of eligibility or provide proof of eligibility as a condition of accepting the award.

The Smithsonian will award 2 prizes total: 1 grand prize to entrants in each of two age groups 13-15 years old; 16-17 years old.

Grand prize: The Smithsonian will print, frame, and display the grand prize winning portrait in the National Portrait Gallery during the spring of 2020 (dates to be announced) and the grand prize winner will receive a Visa gift card (approximate retail value: to be announced). The Smithsonian will exhibit the grand prize winning portrait in the online exhibition.

The Smithsonian reserves the right to substitute prizes of similar value; however, teens may not request prize substitution. All taxes are the responsibility of winners.

Winners for the grand prize will be selected by the Smithsonian based on input from a panel of judges that is comprised of the National Portrait Gallery’s Teen Museum Council; National Portrait Gallery Teen Programs Specialist Caitlin Blake; and a guest juror.

Rights, Permissions, and Releases
Ownership of all portraits submitted for the NPG Teen Portrait Competition, including copyright, will remain the property of the teen who submitted the work, but it is a condition of entry that you grant to the Smithsonian, each, an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right to use and reproduce the submitted work(s) in the exhibition (in person or online), for the exhibition publications, archives, public programs, publicity, promotion, research, postcards, prints, posters, and other products, in all formats now known or later developed (including but not limited to electronic distribution on websites and social media accounts maintained by the Smithsonian), made in connection with the NPG Teen Portrait Competition and related exhibitions.

By participating in this competition you represent that the materials you enter are your own original work.

Winners must secure a written model release from the subject to enable the Smithsonian to use and reproduce the portrait. Winners will be provided with a form for this purpose and given 2 weeks to return it. Failure to return an appropriate, signed model release may result in disqualification.

By participating in this competition, you acknowledge that the Smithsonian and shall have no obligation to post, display, or otherwise use the work that you submit. You further acknowledge that the image you submitted, along with identifying information such as your name, age, and hometown or school, may be displayed publicly at the National Portrait Gallery and online. Collection and use of personally identifiable information from teens or their parents and guardians will be done in accordance with the Smithsonian Privacy Policy as posted on http://www.si.edu/privacy.

By participating in this competition, you agree to be bound by these rules, including all eligibility requirements. You further agree that all interpretations of the rules and decisions by the Smithsonian relating to the rules and the NPG Teen Portrait Competition are final. The Smithsonian reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any teen it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Portrait Competition or Web site or to be acting in violation of the Rules of Entry. The Smithsonian shall not be responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of the Internet or any Web site, including injury or damage to those entering the competition or to any other person's computer related to or resulting from participating or downloading materials in this Portrait Competition. If, for any reason, the Teen Portrait Competition is not capable of running as planned, the Smithsonian reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Teen Portrait Competition.