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Young at Art

What is Young at Art

Applications are now closed for 2023.

2024 applications will be available online in October 2023.

Young at Art is a professionally assessed art exhibition bringing the work of young visual artists to local art galleries. Held annually since 1996, Young at Art recognizes the creative efforts of young artists across Ottawa. Accepted works are displayed in a community gallery and on the Young at Art Instagram. Selected works are eligible for a number of awards.

Each year, submitted artworks are reviewed by a selection committee of established and new artists from our community. The selection process delivers exciting, quality exhibitions based on common assessment criteria: originality, overall impression/elements of art, technical ability, and composition.

Who is eligible to enter?

Visual artists between 12 to 19 years of age who live or go to school in Ottawa.

The City of Ottawa supports cultural activity that is inclusive of Ottawa's diverse community, including people from diverse ancestries, abilities, ages, countries of origin, cultures, genders, incomes, languages, races and sexual orientations. The City of Ottawa recognizes the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation as Ottawa’s Indigenous Host Nation. Applications from artists of diverse origins, First Nations, Inuit and Métis are welcome and encouraged. The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges.

What will Young at Art 2023 look like?

Young at Art will continue to recognize the great artworks and talented youth in the City of Ottawa.

  • Top junior and senior artworks will be selected in each art medium category from the 2023 Young at Art submissions.
  • In addition to these top artworks, one Junior winner and one Senior winner will be chosen to be recognized with a Citywide Award.
  • Selected runner-up and award-winning artworks will be featured in an exhibition at the Trinity Art Gallery at the Shenkman Arts Centre, as well as on the City’s YAA Instagram account, to be shared with family, friends, and the public.


Works chosen by the selection committee for Young at Art 2023 will be displayed in a community gallery in the spring. There will also be a vernissage at the gallery.

  • Display: April 21 to May 22, 2023
  • Vernissage: Tuesday, April 25, 6:30 to 8 pm
  • Location: Shenkman Arts Centre, Salons A and B of Trinity Art Gallery
  • Artwork pickup: Monday May 23, 4:30 to 5:30 pm

Follow the Young at Art Instagram account for updates on the 2023 program. Award-winning artworks will be featured on the account beginning in June.

How to apply

The deadline for 2023 applications is now closed. Application information for Young at Art 2024 will be posted in October 2023. 

Interested in applying next year? Here is what you will need to provide in your application form: 

  • The title of your artwork 
  • Which art medium category you’re applying to 
  • The materials or equipment you used to create your artwork 
  • What we need to know about your artwork to present it in a gallery (dimensions, any specialized equipment for display) 
  • A JPG photo of your artwork or your video file 
  • An artist statement

Selection process

Members of the selection committee possess an extensive background in arts, culture, and/or arts education.

Each committee member will rate participant’s work on a 1-to-5 scale in the following categories:

  1. Originality: does the piece show uniqueness within its genre? Value will be given to those who can show a new and creative concept. Work that is not conceived/created by the artist or directly copied from another artwork without reference will be disqualified for plagiarism. However, the artwork may reference or be inspired by another artist or specific cultural tradition as long as it is properly sourced in the application. 
  2. Overall impression/elements of art: does the piece fit within the category chosen? Are lines, colours, forms, values and textures used effectively?
  3. Technical ability: do all art elements work well together to create a strong design? Is strong technique used within the piece?
  4. Composition: Are visual arts elements placed properly or accordingly for the artwork? Is there evidence of thoughtful planning? Has the artist’s intention been communicated through the piece?

City award categories

Citywide Awards

This year’s Citywide Awards will recognize the top artwork in each age category across the city:

  • Junior – 12 to 15 years
  • Senior – 16 to 19 years

Awards will also be presented in the following categories:

Junior awards – 12 to 15 years

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • 3-Dimensional
  • Photography
  • Mixed media
  • Digital media (video, computer animation, digital illustration, etc.)
  • Other media (printmaking, graphic design, etc.) 

Senior awards – 16 to 19 years

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • 3-Dimensional
  • Photography
  • Mixed media
  • Digital media (video, computer animation, digital illustration, etc.)
  • Other media (printmaking, graphic design, etc.) 

Preparing your artwork for display

Presentation is a very important factor for how your artwork is considered by the audience.

When dropping off your artwork for exhibition, you need to make sure it is ready for hanging or displaying in the gallery. Artwork that is not framed or prepared for display will not be accepted.

How to prepare your work for display:

  • Properly stretched canvas can be left unframed, as long as the edges are painted, dry and presentable. All paintings must be ready to hang with solidly attached wire on the back.
  • All drawings, photographs or prints must be properly framed and ready to attach to the gallery’s cable and hook hanging system with solidly attached wire on the back.
    • Tip: use D hooks to attach the wire to the frame. Place them about 1/3 of the way down the back of your artwork. Example.
    • Tip: there are various places you can visit to purchase frames or framing materials including: Canadian Tire, IKEA, Michaels, Wallack's, and many more!
  • Sculpture or 3-dimensional work can stand alone or be mounted on a plaque. Sculptures must be able to stand solidly without supports. The gallery can provide basic plinths for display, but any additional or specialized requirements must be provided by the artist.
  • Video or new media display requirements must be provided by the artist. This includes USB sticks, video files, monitor(s), projector(s), etc.
  • Artwork must be clearly labelled on the back with the title, artist's name, and phone number.
  • Artwork must be smaller than 122 cm x 183 cm.

Like or follow!

Follow Young at Art on Instagram or Recreation and Culture on Facebook for news and updates.


Young at Art Coordinator
Community Arts and Social Engagement