Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition

We are taking 2022 off from the Youth Arts Competition to work on other projects. Watch our blog and social media for more information about some of those!

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

Our 2021 Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition is finished.  

Mint Artists Guild is creating a more beautiful and engaging late spring, 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 second 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:

  • Artist Requirements:  Any child or youth ages zero to 21, by July 1, 2021, who lives in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne counties in Michigan.
    • Two categories:  Ages zero to 11 and ages 12 to 21.
  • Entry dates:  May 27 – June 29   2021 DEADLINE IS PAST
  • Entries consist of original poetry and visual arts* that are created based on one of our three themes.
  • Children or youth may enter two pieces in poetry or two pieces in visual arts, or one in each.

Our prompts / themes

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

Unity and community. 

When we face troubles or the world struggles, we turn to our community. We come together to survive and prosper.

“Just my imagination (running away with me)”

This title of a Temptations song inspires us to create something from our imaginations, or perhaps imagine a better future.

Detroit’s beauty.  

Interpret the beauty and resilience of Detroit. Detroit is a beautiful city , with architecture, parks, neighborhoods, streets and people filled with grace and love, quality and energy. Its motto shouts of hope and rising from the ashes. So share the beauty of Detroit.

Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition winning piece 2020 by © Arise Elisabeth Rock.

See our 2020 winners on the Mint blog and enjoy more details in the diverse group of last year’s winners in our winners e-book

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

Second, winning art submissions will be displayed to create more beauty and connections 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 Mint with recognition and art in their windows or shops in the summer and fall. See our list of partners a little bit lower!

* 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 inappropriate language and your original piece.   

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

Creative work will be accepted starting May 27 through our deadline:  June 29, 2021.  

Improve your work

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 June 29.   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. 

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 some amazing and generous local businesses.

Some winners’ art also will be on display at the Anton Art Center,  Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Hatch Art and The Scarab Club

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. 

Their winning visual art work will be professionally framed and shared in Mint’s Youth Art in Windows in Hamtramck and along Livernois and more venues. Winning poems will be professionally printed in a limited edition and shared in Detroit poetry and literary locations – with copies for the poet. Poets may be featured in media, at special events and other ways.

Our judges and categories

Judges will select visual arts winners in each age category. Stay tuned for details on artists who will serve as judges this year.

Mint greeting card art winner will be selected by Mint cofounder and executive director Vickie Elmer. Buy the 2020 winning card and the 2022 winning card – and support Mint’s youth development and community art programs.

Poetry submissions will be judged by Will Langford and another writer / poet.  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 and 2021 are:   


[btn text=”Apply here” tcolor=#000 bcolor=#008000 thovercolor=#444 bhovercolor=#FF00FF link=”″ target=”_blank”]


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 .

This photograph by Sydney Lenn is one of the Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition winners 2020.

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 July 1, 2021, 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 July 17, 2021, and poets may be asked to perform their pieces in public.  All original work will be returned to the owners by Jan. 31, 2022.

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.