Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition

This 2020 winning piece was painted by © Moumita Chawdhury. It is called Unifying Hopes of a New Beginning.

COMING SOON:  Details of our 2021 Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition.  

Mint Artists Guild is creating a more beautiful and engaging summer and fall for Detroit’s children and youth.

We are thrilled to partner with  Will “The Poet” Langford and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on our first Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition.  Will is an artist, poet, performance artist and educator and serves on Mint’s board of directors. 

Here are the basics of the competition, which has ended for 2020:

  • Artist Requirements:  Any child or youth ages zero to 21, by Aug. 11, 2020, who lives in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne counties in Michigan.
    • Two categories:  Ages zero to 11 and ages 12 to 21.
  • Entry dates:  July 7 – August 11, 2020.  Our deadline is past; see winners art soon and poetry too.
  • Entries consist of original poetry and visual arts* that are created based on one of our three prompts.
  • Children or youth may enter two pieces in poetry or two visual arts, or one piece in each.

See our winners list on the Mint blog and subscribe to learn more about them in future posts.  ADD LINK

Our main goal is to engage and encourage creativity, resilience and unity in children and youth during a challenging time. 

Second, the winning art submissions may be displayed to create more beauty in Detroit. We want everyone to experience the diversity of talent of Detroit youth. Mint Artists Guild’s website will display and promote many entries and highlight the winning youth art.

And third, we want to support local businesses and organizations that donate prizes or support this initiative with recognition and art in their windows or shops in the fall. See our list of partners a little bit lower!

Our prompts

Please create a poem or piece of visual art inspired by one of these three ideas:

  • What does Detroit’s motto mean to you?

“We hope for better things.  It shall rise from the ashes.” 

  • How is art a unifying force during challenging times?

Art has a profound ability to bring people together. COVID-19, protests about killing innocent people of colorexcessive police force against people of color and the economic slowdown are challenging our notions of “togetherness.” How is art a uniting force during challenging times?

  • How do you interpret the beauty of Detroit? 

 Detroit is a beautiful city , with architecture, parks, neighborhoods, streets and people filled with grace and love, quality and energy. Share the beauty of Detroit.

* Visual art may be photography, painting, coloring, colored pencils, clay, mosaic, mixed media using new or recycled items, wire, sculpture and more. Please make sure it is family friendly, no toxic materials or language and your original piece.   

Poetry may be written on paper, legibly, typed into an online document or videotaped and shared in a video of up to 90 seconds.  Please make sure it is family friendly and your original work.

Creative work were to be submitted through Aug. 11.  Deadline is past, and we hope to have a new competition in 2021!

Then what?

After you’ve finished the first draft of your piece, ask your Mom, Dad, Grandma, neighbor who’s an artist and the writer or designer down the street to critique your work and help you make it even better.   Then set it aside and look it over again and work on it some more.  Just don’t miss our new deadline of  Aug. 11.   After you are finished,  photograph your work.   It’s fine to use a phone camera but photograph in natural lighting and please crop the image before sending it to us. 

How to enter

All entries was to be uploaded through our secure site and if you are under 18, your parent needs to sign your application.  Please fill out the form by Aug. 11.

Why enter?    

We encourage creativity and the celebration of Detroit.   We also know that Detroit is home to plenty of aspiring artists and poets, and we want to engage, encourage and recognize many of them.   And yes, we will give awards in cash and gifts donated by local businesses. in two age categories – children ages zero to 11 and youth ages 12 to 21. Age is as of Aug. 11, 2020, the final day of the competition. 


We will share winning art and artists starting the week of Aug. 24.

Winners in any category will receive a cash award and other prizes donated by local businesses.  One piece will be chosen to be featured and printed on a future Mint greeting card. 

Winning youth also may receive career and creativity coaching and recognition in blog posts, media and more, though of course media coverage cannot be guaranteed. 

Much of their winning art work will be professionally framed and shared in the fall in local businesses and other organizations.  Winning poems may be featured in media and other ways.

Our judges and categories

Four panels of judges will select one visual arts winner in each age category.

  • Panel 1:  Mint Artists Guild board of directors
  • Panel 2:  Mint Artists Guild Alumni and friends
  • Panel 3:  Mint Artists Guild active youth

Mint greeting card art winner will be selected by Mint cofounder and executive director Vickie Elmer.

Poetry submissions will be judged by Will Langford.  One winner per age category will be selected.

Our partners

All our business and nonprofit partners believe in the creative future of Detroit. Our partners for 2020 are:   

This Detroit neighborhood scene shows the beauty of our city. It was painted by Mint Artists Eleanor Aro and used with permission. © Eleanor Aro


We love questions.  Drop us an email at with any question that’s not covered here or in the fine print below.

If you want to know more about Mint Artists Guild, please read  our blog  and  our FAQs.

Fine print

By entering, you agree that Mint Artists Guild may reproduce your art in any medium and in a virtual or in-person show.  Mint Artists Guild also retains the right to use images of all art and all the poetry submissions in promotional materials and our website.  Artists will be credited and of course, retain the copyright to their work.

Contest is open to any child or youth ages zero to 21, by Aug. 11, 2020, who lives in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne counties in Michigan. 

No current Mint Artists, staff or alumni involved in judging the competition may enter. 

*Art may be photography, painting, coloring, colored pencils, clay, mosaic, mixed media using new or recycled items, wire, sculpture and more.  

Poetry may be written on paper, legibly, typed into an online document or videotaped and shared in a video of up to 90 seconds.

You promise that the work is yours and does not violate U.S. copyright laws or spread or endorse illegal or inappropriate thoughts or behaviors. 

All submissions must be the creator’s original idea and family friendly.

Material must be non-toxic with no inappropriate language.

Winning youth and their parents will be expected to submit materials, such as report cards or identification card, to prove age and place of residence. They also will be expected to sign art usage memorandums that spell out these details and others. 

Winners will be required to deliver or send their original art to Mint Artists Guild by August 25, 2020, and poets may be asked to perform their pieces in public.  All original work will be returned to the owners by Dec. 31, 2020.

Care will be taken with the art; however, Mint is not responsible for theft, damage, wear and tear while the art is in the Mint Studio, on display in Detroit organizations or in our custody.

Rules may be amended and updated as needed by Mint or its partners without notice.

Decisions of our judges are final.