Art & Prose of Freedom Contest Guidelines

Contest Overview

Theme:  Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow

Students are encouraged to use their creativity and submit work that embodies hope, celebrates freedom, and inspires action for a better future.

Entry Criteria: Open to any student in a Montgomery County public, private, parochial, or home school.

Art and Prose Categories

  • Poetry
  • Short Essay
  • Art

Prizes: One short essay, one poem, and one art submission will be selected for 1st prize from each grade level.  

  • Grade Level I: K - 5th Grades 
  • Grade Level II: 6th - 8th Grades 
  • Grade Level III:  9th - 12th Grades 

Winners will receive $100 gift cards. All participants will receive a certificate of participation. 1st place prizes will be awarded at the County’s Juneteenth Flag Raising event in June 2024. Winners will be notified of the date, which will be announced spring 2024. In addition, submissions may be shared at a Board of Commissioners Meeting and at other County events, in County buildings, in County publications, and on County social media sites.

How to Participate: The Student Entry Form must be completed, signed, and submitted along with the contest entry by Sunday, April 7 at 11:59 p.m. ET. They can be submitted using the following methods: 

  • Email:  artandprose@montgomerycountypa.gov (Preferred Submission Method)
  • Mail
    Art and Prose of Freedom Contest
    Attention: Donna L. Richemond, Chief of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    Commissioners Office
    PO Box 311
    Norristown, PA 19404-0311
  • In-Person: Commissioners Office, One Montgomery Plaza, Norristown, PA

Questions should be directed to artandprose@montgomerycountypa.gov or 610-278-1499.

Submission Deadline: Sunday, April 7 at 11:59 p.m. ET

General Rules

  • Students may submit only one entry per category.
  • Entries received after  Sunday, April 7 at 11:59 p.m. ET will not be eligible.
  • Submissions must be in good taste and free of any images/language generally considered offensive. Works with inappropriate or discriminatory language or symbols will be disqualified.
  • All submissions must have a title to be included on the entry form.
  • Qualifying submissions will be judged on the following criteria: relevance to the theme, content, quality, creativity, and adherence to the guidelines.
  • Team entries are not allowed. Do not submit artwork created by more than one person. 
  • Parents/Guardians must sign the entry form and submit any required releases.

Essay and Poetry Guidelines 

  • If typed, use 12 pt. or 14 pt. Times New Roman or Arial font.  If handwritten, submissions must be legible.
  • Word count for short essays:   
    • CATEGORY I: K- 5th Grades (50-200 words) 
    • CATEGORY II: 6th—8th Grades (200 – 350 words) 
    • CATEGORY III:  9th -12th Grades (350  – 500 words) 
  • Essays will be judged on these additional criteria: correct use of grammar, spelling and punctuation.  
  • Poetry submissions: Correct spelling and originality are a must for poetry submissions. There are no word count restrictions for poems.

Art Submissions Guidelines

  • Use any medium (drawing, painting, photography, sculptures, video, music, and graphic design).  Photographs or quality scanned copies are accepted for work that cannot be submitted via email.
  • All photographs that include images of people must be accompanied by a signed release form allowing the student and the County to share those images.  
  • Artwork with copyrighted or trademarked characters (such as comic, television, or movie characters), with logos or trademarked names of specific products, or with any political references, images, or messages will be disqualified. 

“Juneteenth isn’t just a celebration of emancipation, it’s a celebration of that commitment. And, … it belongs to all Americans.” 
— Jamelle Bouie