Choosing The Best Entries For Student Art Contests

If you're an art instructor who is trying to choose artwork to represent your school in upcoming school art contests, then you may be wondering about how to go about selecting the best entries. You may also be struggling on how to balance encouragement with showcasing the most exceptional students.These contests are very competitive and, most of the time, space in these contests is limited, so it's unlikely you will be able to enter your entire class's work unless the contest is large and your class is small. Here are some suggestions on how to narrow down your choices to not only include as many students as possible, but also show off and reward their best work.

Have your students pick out their best and narrow it down from there:

One way to decide on which pieces to enter into the contest is to have your students choose what they think is their best piece for the semester or year. If choosing only one is too difficult for them, perhaps ask them to narrow it down to their three favorites and go through each one yourself and make the final decisions on what to enter. This may be difficult if your class is large and you end up with hundreds of pieces of art to sift through. One suggestion on how to tackle this is to invite a panel of other art instructors, professional artists or someone with an eye for art to help narrow down the choices if possible. You can also hold your own competition in class or school where the best works move on to the larger contests.

Judge the work based on completeness and following instructions:

Another way to narrow down the choices is to weed out work that wasn't completed properly. Eliminate work that is appears rushed if it looks like the student didn't put any effort or care into it. You can also determine if the student followed class instructions on each piece.  If you announced a theme for this contest in advance, judge whether or not the student's work fit that theme. If you end up deciding to not enter the work, explain to the student why their work was not acceptable and how they can improve for the next competition. 

You want to encourage and reward your best students by showcasing their best work of the year and make sure the most outstanding students are rewarded. At the same time, you want students to learn from their mistakes and encourage them to put out their best effort, even if it means that you might not be able to accept their work into the contest. 


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