Young at Art

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What is Young at Art?

Young at Art is a professionally assessed art exhibition bringing the work of visual artists between 12 to 19 years of age to local art galleries. Each year since 1996, Young at Art recognizes the creative efforts of young artists across Ottawa. Artworks are reviewed by a committee of established arts professionals and emerging artists from the community. Common criteria guide them through a selection process resulting in a dynamic exhibition at a community gallery and on the Young at Art Instagram. Selected works are eligible for several awards.

  • The Young at Art application is closed for 2024. The 2025 Young at Art application will be available online in November 2024.

What is new in Young at Art 2024?

New art mediums:

  • Design (graphic design, architectural design, fashion design, interior design) 
  • Other Media (decorative arts)


To be eligible for entry:

  • Artists must live or go to school in Ottawa.
  • Artists must be between the ages of 12 and 19, inclusive, at the time of submission.

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.

Timeline and location

Works selected for Young at Art are displayed for exhibition in a community gallery in the spring. Once the exhibition is open, there will be a vernissage at the gallery to celebrate the artworks and talented young visual artists.

  • Deadline to submit: Monday, March 25, 2024, at 3 pm
  • Selection committee meeting: April 2024
  • Exhibition: April 25 to May 21, 2024
  • Vernissage: Thursday, May 2, 2024, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Location: Shenkman Arts Centre, Salons A and B of Trinity Art Gallery
  • Artwork pickup: Wednesday, May 22, 2024, 4:30 to 6 pm

Selection process

All submissions are organized according to the following age categories:

  • Junior: from 12 to 15 years
  • Senior: from 16 to 19 years

The selection committee evaluates each submission based on the art medium and age category to which they belong.

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 one-to-five scale based on common evaluation criteria.

The selection committee will deliberate based on their highest scored artworks to finalize runner-up and award-winning artworks to be featured in the exhibition and on the Young at Art Instagram.

Evaluation criteria


Does the piece show uniqueness within its genre? Value will be given to those who can show a new, innovative, 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.  

Overall impression/elements of art and design 

Does the piece fit within the category chosen? Are lines, shapes, forms, space, textures, materials, values, and colours used effectively?  

Technical ability 

Do all art elements work well together to create a strong design? Does the piece demonstrate strong technical proficiency? Is the technique effectively used and does it serve the overall concept?  


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? Are the artwork’s principles (balance, rhythm, unity, movement, contrast, emphasis, pattern, harmony, proportion and scale) used effectively to create the artwork or design?

Preparing 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.
  • Sculpture or three-dimensional work can stand alone or be mounted on a plinth. 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 digital work must be in .mp4 file format and saved to a USB. 
  • 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.


  • Top junior and senior artworks will be selected for an award in each art medium category.
  • One junior and one senior will be chosen to be recognized with a Citywide Award.