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K-12 Coastal Art & Poetry Contest

January 31, 2023

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CA Coastal commission art
  • This contest is open to California residents in grades K-12. (Immediate family members of Coastal Commission staff are not eligible.) There are five grade categories for awards in both art and poetry: K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Entries must have a California coastal or ocean theme (for example, no tropical or arctic settings or species). Art does not need to depict specific places or species, but if it does, they must be California places and species. Meaning, sometimes a fish is just a “fish,” but if it’s a recognizable type of fish, make sure it’s one that lives here! (Learn about California native species.) And while you can submit a poem about “the beach,” please don’t submit one about Waikiki Beach, for example.Winners will be selected for art and poetry in each of the five grade categories; winners will receive a $100 gift certificate to an art supply store (art) or a bookstore (poetry). Each winner’s teacher (named on the Entry Form) will receive a $50 gift certificate for educational supplies from Acorn Naturalists. In addition, multiple honorable mentions may be selected.
  • Poems and artwork must be student’s original work. If a poem is a reference to an existing poem (or song, or other work), that poem and poet should be named on the entry. Artists should include a short statement of a paragraph or less describing their inspiration for the artwork. If needed, this can be dictated to or translated by the teacher, parent, or other helper. (Please make a note if that’s the case, and include the original text if translated.) Any art entry that has been traced from or is a digital alteration of an existing photo or image that was created by someone other than the student is a violation of the competition rules. If using an image created by someone else (of an animal, for example) as a model for an art entry, student’s artwork must be significantly different to avoid plagiarism. No hands other than the student’s own should be involved in the creation of artwork.
  • Original artwork may not exceed 11 x 17 inches in size. Acceptable art media are paint, pencil, markers, ink, crayon, chalk or pastel (fixed), collage, and digital art. Three-dimensional pieces, photography, or art that uses glitter are not eligible.
  • Entries must be uploaded by 5:00pm California time on January 31. Students may enter multiple pieces but must complete a separate entry form for each one. A parent or guardian must approve and sign the Entry Form. Winners will be contacted directly and announced on this website by early April. Sign up to receive an email announcement.
  • Be sure to keep the original artwork. If artwork is a winner or honorable mention, student must mail the original artwork (unless artwork is a digital creation) to the Coastal Commission. Artwork will be kept by the Coastal Commission for approximately one year as part of a traveling public exhibit.
  • Please use the online entry process if possible. If digital upload of entries causes a hardship (e.g. if you are a teacher who wants to submit your class’s entries, or you don’t have easy access to scan or photograph your entry), you can submit in one of the following two ways:
    • Entries and completed paper Entry Forms (EnglishSpanish) can be carefully photographed and emailed to coast4u@coastal.ca.gov by 5:00pm on January 31. Be sure to keep the original artwork (see #5 above). Note: a parent or guardian must sign Entry Form.
    • Entries can be mailed to the California Coastal Commission at 455 Market St, Suite 228, San Francisco CA 94105. Print out and complete a paper Entry Form in English or Spanish for each entry. Poems should be printed on the back of the completed Entry Form (preferred) or stapled to the Entry Form. Note: a parent or guardian must sign Entry Form. Attach completed Entry Form and a short Artist’s Statement about the inspiration for the artwork to the back of each piece of artwork with glue or tape. Please do not fold art or use paperclips or staples. Mailed entries must arrive at the Coastal Commission no later than February 1st. Multiple entries (whether from one student or from a group) can be sent in one package, but each entry must have its own entry form attached. The Coastal Commission is not responsible for entries that are late, damaged, or lost. ENTRIES WILL NOT BE RETURNED. If you have questions or would like to talk about mailing art, please feel free to email.

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