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15 Best Art Scholarships for High School Students

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It’s well known that scholarships provide college-bound students an excellent opportunity to offset the rising cost of college. While that is reason enough to make applying for scholarships a priority, young artists can reap more than a financial reward for their efforts, as many art scholarships call attention to their work. For example, the Doodle 4 Google Competition winner is featured on Google’s home page, and the winning submission in the Project Yellow Light/Hunter Garner Scholarship potentially could get displayed on Clear Channel digital billboards across the U.S. 


If you want to win scholarship money and be recognized for your art, keep reading to learn about more great art scholarships. 


15 Best Art Scholarships for High School Students


1. Doodle 4 Google Competition

Amount: $30,000

Deadline: March 13, 2020; 8:00 pm Pacific Time 


  • Kindergarten-12th grade
  • U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. legal resident
  • Enrolled in a U.S.-based school (including homeschool, or a school in Puerto Rico, Guam, or the U.S. Virgin Islands)


The Doodle 4 Google Competition provides young artists the chance to be featured on Google’s homepage, in addition to receiving a $30,000 award. Students can create doodles in any medium—from crayon to clay—but they must submit them in a 2D format. The theme of the competition changes from year to year; 2020’s doodle theme is “I show kindness by…” 


2. Frame My Future

Amount: $5,000 first place, $1,000 second place, $500 third place

Deadline: April 1, 2020; 11:59 pm Eastern Time 


  • Legal U.S. resident 
  • Full-time student at a U.S. college or university in the 2020-2021 academic year  


Sponsored by Church Hill Classics, a manufacturer of frames for diplomas, the Frame My Future contest encourages young artists to submit an original, creative work that expresses “This is how I want to Frame My Future.” Submissions can span the arts, including poems, essays, photos, paintings, or anything else that you can use to create an image. Additionally, applicants are required to send an accompanying 500-character description of their work. Contestants are narrowed to 24 finalists by a panel of judges before a public voting phase, where the work with the most votes is declared the winner. 


3. Victor Agnoni Visual Arts Foundation—VAVAF LGBT Arts Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: Expected April 24, 2020 (2019 deadline was April 24)


  • LGBT student
  • Graduating high school senior
  • Enrolling in a two- or four-year college or technical school for the upcoming fall semester
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0


Application Requirements:

  • Letter of recommendation by teacher or program sponsor
  • List of extracurricular activities
  • 250-500 word statement
  • Portfolio with images of 10 pieces of work


The VAVAF LGBT Arts Scholarship is an award for young LGBT artists. To apply, students are required to submit a portfolio containing images of ten pieces of work; acceptable mediums include drawing, painting, photography, three-dimensional sculpture, ceramics, digital media, mixed media, and printmaking. Five of the 10 pieces must be the same form of media. Students also need to submit a 250- to 500-word statement on why participating in the arts has been important to them as an LGBT student, and how they have benefited from it. Works will be judged on cohesiveness, development, and technique.


4. Urban Art Scholarship

Amount: $350

Deadline: December 31, 2020


Application Requirements:

  • Portfolio of 3-5 works
  • 300-500 word essay
  • Signed contract


Founded by student/artist Trevor Coopersmith, the Urban Art Scholarship provides financial and educational support for young artists who use their work to benefit society, and who hope to pursue a career in the arts. To apply, students must submit a portfolio of 3-5 pieces of work demonstrating talent, creativity, and societal value. In addition to a portfolio, a 300- to 500-word essay discussing the student’s aspirations, community involvement, their work as an artist, how their artistic endeavors apply to society, and how the scholarship will benefit the student and their community is required.   


5. The #NoRA Excellence in Art Activism Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: expected December 31, 2020 (2019 deadline was Dec. 31)


  • High school senior or a student currently enrolled in a baccalaureate program


Application Requirements:

  • High school or college transcript
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Portfolio of 3-10 works
  • 700-1000 word essay


The #NoRA Excellence in Art Activism Scholarship is awarded to young artists with a portfolio of work committed to enacting social change around gun violence. Students are welcome to submit all types of artistic pursuits—including visual arts, writing, film, and music—and are required to accompany their artistic creations with a 700- to 1,000-word essay on how they use or are intending to use their art to battle gun violence. 


6. Project Yellow Light/Hunter Garner Scholarship

Amount: $2,000 each for radio and billboard winners, $8,000 for video winner

Deadline: March 1, 2020; 11:59 pm Eastern Time


  • Legal U.S. resident
  • High school junior or senior between 14-20 years old


Use art to help put an end to texting and driving and win a $2,000 or $8,000 scholarship. Applicants for the Project Yellow Light/Hunter Garner Scholarship are tasked with creating a billboard design, short video, or radio segment aimed at teen and young adult drivers that alerts them to the dangers of distracted driving, particularly the perils of texting and driving. Organizers are looking for messaging that isn’t preachy, and doesn’t include the usual scare tactics; they want media that actually motivates people to drive safely. Each type of medium has special formatting requirements, so be sure to read the instructions carefully.


7. Ocean Awareness Student Contest

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: June 15, 2020; 11:59 Eastern Time 


  • Age 15-18 enrolled high school (there is also a middle school division)
  • Open to international applicants
  • Participants may enter as individuals or as a group, agreeing to split prize money evenly if they win as a group


Application Requirements:

  • Students are required to have an Adult Sponsor who can be a teacher, parent, guardian, mentor, or other supporting adult
  • Submission of work
  • 100-250 word statement


The Ocean Awareness Student Contest is a call to students with an interest in art and a concern for the future of the planet. The contest seeks those using their talents to increase awareness of the climate crisis, bring attention to potential solutions, and promote ocean conversation. Promoting different voices and storytelling mediums, submissions are accepted in Visual Art, Film, Music, Poetry, Prose, and Interactive and Multimedia. Students may submit a maximum of one entry per category/medium. Students will also need to submit a reflection, a 100- to 250-word statement about their creative process and what they’ve learned through the contest’s theme. The theme of the contest changes yearly; 2020’s is Hope: Transforming Crisis.

8. NSHSS Earth Day Awards

Amount: $500

Deadline: expected March 15, 2020 (2019 deadline was March 15)


  • High school student 


Encouraging environmental stewardship in high school students, recipients of NSHSS Earth Day Awards have exhibited care, leadership, and volunteerism through Earth Day projects. Applicants are required to detail an environmental project they are working on, or one that will be underway by Earth Day, along with sharing how it will impact the future. Applicants are asked to supplement their submissions with a creative undertaking, such as a video, painting, drawing, or poem that spotlights the project. 


9. L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of The Future Contest

Amount: $500 to 3 quarterly winners; a grand prize winner amongst the quarterly winners will be awarded an additional $5,000

Deadline: March 31, 2020; 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time


  • New and amateur artists (defined as artists who have not been professionally published and paid for more than three black-and-white story illustrations, or more than one process-color painting, in media distributed broadly to the general public)
  • Open internationally, but must be able to communicate in English


An excellent opportunity for new science fiction and fantasy artists, the L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of The Future Contest gives young artists a chance to be seen by a large audience and receive a substantial award. Entrants are required to submit three original, unpublished illustrations in color or black-and-white—the incorporation of grat scale, mixed media, computer generated art, and photography into illustrations is permitted. Three co-winners are chosen each quarter and given a cash prize of $500. They also become eligible to compete for the grand prize of $5,000 by creating an illustration for a winning story from the Writers of the Future Contest. 


10. Dolphin Galleries Scholarship for the Visual Arts

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: July 20, 2020; 9 am Pacific Time


  • Attending, or planning to enroll in, an accredited U.S. college or university during the 2020-2021 academic year (can be an international student)
  • In good academic standing
  • Planning or currently pursuing an arts-related major or minor


Dolphin Galleries Scholarship for the Visual Arts helps make attaining a college education more feasible for artistic-minded students by assisting with the means for the next generation to pursue their artistic and creative passions. Applicants are required to submit a portfolio of five pieces of work, and a 100-word description of each of them, that relate to expression of culture in the modern age. Submissions will be judged on originality, creativity, artistic skill, substantive content of the response.


11. AGL Over the Rainbow Foundation

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 30, 2020


  • High school senior 
  • Planning on attending college the following academic year 


Application Requirements:

  • Three recommendation letters from teachers
  • Resume of musical, theatre, art, or chorus background
  • Short video of works (under 3 minutes)
  • Copy of acceptance letter from college you’ll be attending, or listing of applications of where you plan to attend


For students with a passion for music, theatre, art, or chorus, the AGL Over the Rainbow Scholarship is an excellent opportunity to earn money for college. The scholarship is in honor of Alex G. Lutrell, an accomplished singer, musician, and actor who appeared in Ant-Man and the Wasp.


12. Worldstudio AIGA Scholarship

Amount: $2,000-$3,000; one or two $5,000 scholarships may be granted at the jury’s discretion

Deadline: April 15, 2020


  • Must have financial need
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Graphic Design, Illustration, or Photography
  • U.S. citizen or Green Card holder
  • Matriculated or planning to matriculate full-time at an accredited university in the U.S.
  • Though not a requirement, racial-ethnic minority status is weighed significantly in decisions


Application Requirements:

  • Provide financial aid information on the scholarship form and have the form signed by a financial aid officer
  • Transcript
  • 400 word statement of purpose


The Worldstudio AIGA Scholarship is working to cultivate diversity in creative professions and foster social and environmental responsibility through artistic endeavors. Open to minority and financially disadvantaged artists and designers, applicants must exhibit a financial need for consideration for this scholarship. Additionally, applicants are required to submit a 400-word statement discussing their experiences, how they’ve influenced their work, future career plans, and how they see their role as a creator contributing to the community. Also required is a portfolio exhibiting 5-10 pieces of their work, along with explanatory captions, and a self portrait made with any medium; self-expression is encouraged, and the portrait doesn’t have to be a literal representation or photograph.


13. Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 31, 2020 at 11:59 pm Central Time


  • At least 25% Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity
  • U.S. citizen, legal resident, or national
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • High school senior or college student enrolled full time at a U.S. vocational, two-year or four-year college pursuing (or planning to pursue) an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s degree
  • Majoring in, or planning on majoring in, visual or performing arts, including film, theatre, fashion, photography, graphic design, dance, music, journalism, and mass communications 


Application Requirements:

  • Resume
  • Transcript
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Letter of acceptance to college
  • 100-character short answer
  • 500-word essay


The Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship supports aspiring young Asian American artists and leaders who exemplify what it means to “Go Against the Grain.” Providing financial assistance to students majoring in, or planning on majoring in, the performing and visual arts, journalism, or mass communications, applicants are judged on five key categories: quality of content submission (essay, artistic portfolio), academic performance, leadership/community service experience and contribution, letters of recommendation, phone/in-person committee interview.



14. Bob and Renee Stein Notre Vue Art Fund

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: May 15, 2020


  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • U.S. citizen or legal resident, as well as a resident of California
  • Enrolled in a California post-secondary educational institution and majoring in art, photography, graphic design, etc—or a high schooler accepted into such a program


Application Requirements:

  • Statement of personal and career goals
  • Portfolio (and resume, if applicable)
  • College transcript, or letter of acceptance of admission to college


Encouraging and supporting young Californian Artists, the Bob and Renee Stein Notre Vue Art Fund provides a substantial award for school, along with the opportunity for the applicant’s artwork to become a Notre Vue Estate wine label. For consideration for this scholarship, applicants need to provide a statement of their personal and career goals, answer three questions—How has art shaped your life? What is your view of art’s role in society? How do you see the convergence of your art & nature?—and supply a portfolio of their artwork. 


15. Science Without Borders Challenge

Amount: $500 first place, $350 second place, $200 third place

Deadline: April 20, 2020


  • Ages 15-19 (there is an 11-14 division as well) and enrolled in primary or secondary school


Applicant Requirements:

  • Must send original artwork – digital copies aren’t allowed
  • Digital art (like photography) is not permitted
  • 150 word statement
  • Teacher contact info


Getting students and teachers more interested and involved in Ocean Conservation, the Science Without Borders Challenge tasks applicants to find creative ways to promote the  preservation, protection, and restoration of the world’s oceans and aquatic resources. The theme of the challenge changes yearly—2020’s theme is Take Action: Conserve Coral Reefs. To participate in the challenge, applicants need to submit an original, two-dimensional work of art, such as a drawing or painting, in accordance with the contest’s theme along with a 150-word statement about their artwork and how it relates to the theme. 


Tips for Winning Art Scholarships 


Hopefully your artistic expressions and creations are enough to wow judges and earn you scholarships. Follow these tips to keep the focus on your art and increase your odds of winning an award. 


Pay attention to details: Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and misused punctuation will all shift attention from your art. Diligently fill out applications, write essays, and proofread your descriptions before submission. 


Write in your own voice: While you hope your art will speak for itself, many of the aforementioned scholarships require short essays and descriptions of your work. Use this as another creative outlet where you can set yourself apart from the competition. 


Don’t wait until the last minute: Just because a scholarship deadline is May 20, doesn’t mean that you need to wait until May 20 to submit your application. Submission portals can bottleneck and websites can crash causing you to miss out on a potential award. Set yourself an earlier deadline of at least 2 days before the real one.


Apply for lots of scholarships: The more scholarships you apply to, the greater your chances are of winning one. Find even more awesome art-focused scholarships in our blog post Scholarships and Competitions for students in the Performing Arts. Just be sure that you balance the quality of your submission with quantity, and also apply to scholarships of different sizes. Larger national awards tend to be extremely competitive, while local awards may be smaller in amount, but less competitive.


Although CollegeVine can’t predict your odds of winning one of these coveted awards, we can help take the guesswork out of college admissions. Our free chancing engine uses a data-driven algorithm to give you a clearer picture of your chance of acceptance at over 500 colleges. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applications, and give you tips for improving your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account now to get a boost on your college journey!

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.