Each year, more than 3,500 high school students from across the country participate in the VFW Auxiliary’s Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest. The contest began in 1979 to recognize up-and-coming artists and encourage patriotism in youth. View the 2017-2018 state winners or all the previous first-place national winners.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

  • Any student in grades 9-12 who is enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States.
  • Maximum student age of 18 at time of local entry.
  • Student must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national.
  • Applicant does not have to be related to a VFW or VFW Auxiliary member to participate, but the student must attend school in the same state as the sponsoring VFW Auxiliary.

What is the Scholarship Amount?

  • The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $29,500.

What are the Scholarship Submission Requirements?

  • Two-dimensional art must be on canvas or paper. Watercolor, pencil, pastel, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen, ink, oil, marker or other media taught may be used.
  • Do not frame two-dimensional pieces.
  • Submit canvas entries on a stretcher frame or canvas board. Other entries must be
    matted in white. Do not use color mats. Reinforce the back with heavy paper. Mounted and floating mats may also be used.
  • The art should be no smaller than 8” x 10” but no larger than 18” x 24”, not including mat.
  • Three dimensional art can be paper, papier-mâché, pottery, clay, metal work, fabric, etc.
  • Pieces should be no smaller than 8” in any direction and no larger than 24” in any direction.
  • Art cannot be more than 5 lbs. in weight.
  • Digital art, photography and jewelry are NOT ACCEPTED.
  • Complete entry form and attach to back of entry.
  • Submit a typed explanation of patriotism expressed in art (150 words or less).

What are the Scholarship Contest Deadlines?

  • March 31: Student Entry Deadline to Local VFW Auxiliary.*
  • April 10:  Local VFW Auxiliary and District Judging Complete.
  • April 15:  Local VFW Auxiliary and District Winners to Department (state) for Judging.*
  • May 5:  VFW Auxiliary Department (state) Winners to VFW Auxiliary National Headquarters.*

* required deadlines

Click on the individual images below more information about the 2018 top eight national winners and what the artists said about their pieces.