Teen Winter Challenge: Express Yourself 

It’s that time of year again! Express yourself this winter by participating in our Teen Winter Challenge art competition.

Submit a digital portfolio of original pieces of work and an artist’s statement as outlined below.

Prizes include scholarships or gift cards—and the opportunity to see your work featured on our website. All high school students in Chicago are eligible to submit a portfolio.

Need help getting started on your portfolio? Check out our Teen Winter Challenge events around the city to get started today! We also have our Teen Winter Challenge resource booklist to help you get inspired.

Submission Guidelines

  • Who: High school students 14-18; must live in Chicago.
  • What: Submit a portfolio in a digital format (e.g. website, video, individual files) starting December 3, 2018. Your portfolio must contain at least four original creative works using skills you've developed at CPL or any educational setting in 2018-19 (e.g. drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, music, film). Your portfolio must also include an artist’s statement of 250 words.
  • When: December 3, 2018 - January 7, 2019
  • Where: Check back at www.chipublib.org/winter on December 3rd!
  • How: CPL staff and partnering Chicago art institutions will judge submissions on the cohesiveness of the portfolio, clarity of the artist’s statement and evidence of growth. 

Artist Statement Guidelines

Your portfolio must include an artist’s statement of 250 words. Your statement should address the following:

  • Provide context for your work, indicating what it means to you and why you feel it represents your journey as an artist.
  • Discuss your creative process by identifying the skills or mentorship you’ve received at CPL or any educational setting that have contributed to these works.
  • Describe why you decided to become an artist and what you like best about being an artist.


Winners will be notified March 2019.

Prize winners will be selected in the following categories:

Senior Achievement Award (open to high school seniors)

  • Grand Prize: $500 scholarship
  • First and second runner-up: $250 scholarship

Scholarships will be remitted directly to the two- or four-year college/university of your choice. Proof of admission must be provided and no cash awards will be distributed. Each scholarship is a one-time award and cannot be renewed.

Young Artist’s Award (open to high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors)

  • Grand Prize: $100 gift card to Blick Art Materials or B&H Photo Video
  • First and second runners-up: $50 gift card to Blick Art Materials or B&H Photo Video

Disclaimer: By submitting your portfolio, you authorize Chicago Public Library to post your work on www.chipublib.org, along with your first name.