FAQs


Q: What is a portrait?

A: Artists know that a portrait can communicate much more than a likeness. Personal identity, cultural differences, illusory moments—all can be captured through portraits. Portraits are created in a dizzying variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and other time-based media. It may be a traditional, representational work or it may be a more experimental portrait.


Q: Who may the artist portray?

A: For our competition, the portrait must be based on the artist's direct contact with any living individual(s). Self-portraits will be accepted.


Q: When are submissions due?

A: The deadline is November 15, 2013. All pieces must have been received by midnight (EST) in order to be considered in the competition.


Q: Who can enter this competition?

A: The competition is open to all teens between the ages of 13 and 17 on the day of entry, who are legal residents of the United States or its territories with an address in the United States at the time of the competition.


Q: What are the prizes?

A: The prizes are as follow:

  • Grand Prize winners for each age group will receive a $300 gift card along with their portrait on display in the National Portrait Gallery starting in Spring 2014.
  • 5 honorable mentions will be given for each age group and will receive a $50 gift card.
  • Grand Prize winners and honorable mentions winners will be showcased in an online exhibition on the competition's website.

Q: May I manipulate my photograph?

A: We ask that you select "photography" or "digital art" as your medium on the entry form. We define them as:

Photography: an image taken with a camera. Use of Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or other editing software is accepted to make minor touch-ups such as red-eye, color manipulation, cropping, dodging, and/or contrasting.

Digital Art: a photograph that has been extensively edited through editing software. Examples of this type of work would be digital collages, photos improved through manipulation, digital painting, and fractal art.


Q: How do I submit my portrait?

A: You will be submitting through Call for Entry. First you must register an account. You will be required to create a portfolio where you can upload a photograph or video of your piece. When processing you will be required to submit a one sentence description of your piece.


Q: What if my art is three-dimensional?

A: We will only be accepting digital submissions. Artists working in three-dimensional mediums may take a photograph or short video of their pieces to submit. Remember that you will be judged on the digital representation of your piece, not just the painting or sculpture being shown, so present your work carefully!

Sample Submissions: (Good Example & Bad Example)


Q: I’m 18 but want to enter the competition, what should I do?

A: Since this competition is only open to 13-17 year olds, you should consider entering the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, open to artists age 18 and over. For more information visit http://portraitcompetition.si.edu/.


Q: Who may I contact if I have questions not answered here?

A: You can email us at npgteenportrait@si.edu/ with any questions, comments, or concerns.


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What is Portraiture?

Artists know that a portrait can communicate much more than a likeness. Personal identity, cultural differences, illusory moments—all can be captured through portraits. Portraits are created in a dizzying variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and other time-based media. It may be a traditional, representational work or it may be a more experimental portrait.

Click here to view some examples of portraits.


Looking for additional inspiration?

Visit the National Portrait Gallery website: npg.si.edu