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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

9th annual high school & college essay contest

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words is a writing competition at the Albany Museum of Art for college and high school students interested in inspiring museum goers by writing an essay that is connected with a work of art. The top three essayists in each division win a cash award.

Dates, Guidelines, FAQs & Winners

  • The next competition opens in Winter 2024.
  • Closing date will be announced.
  • Awards date will be announced.

Who can compete?

There are two divisions: college and high school.

College Division: Any college student who is a resident of Southwest Georgia, and all currently enrolled students at Albany State University, Albany Technical College, Georgia Southwestern State University, Valdosta State University, Thomas University, Andrew College, and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College are eligible to participate.

High School Division: The competition is open to high school students in Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, and Worth counties.

NOTE: Students who are dually enrolled in high school and college classes compete in the college division.

Winners of the 2021 essay contest are shown with museum officials
2021 College Essay Winners: L-R, Albany Museum of Art Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf; Braylea Phillips, Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW), Honorable Mention; Alexis Conley, GSW, 3rd place; Tasmyn McCauley, GSW, 1st place; AMA Education & Public Programming Director Annie Vanoteghem.

How do I enter the competition? 

Visit the Albany Museum of Art and choose a work of art from
the A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words art object list. The work of art
written about must be from this list to ensure that the artwork is on view at
the AMA for the entire competition. You may view the objects now!

What are the prizes?

Cash awards are given for the top three essays in each of the college and high school divisions.

The winning essays will be published on

How will the essays be judged?

Each essay will be assigned a number ID and all identifying information in regard to who submitted the essay will be removed before the essays are submitted to a panel of judges. The judges—one panel for high school submissions and a second for college essays—will read and rank the essays.

When will the winners be announced?

High school and college winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in December 2022 at the AMA, provided that health guidelines allow in-person events at that time. In addition, the top essayists in each division will be invited to read their respective essays at the event.

Writing Tips

Give your chosen work a close look: What story lies behind the image? What feelings does the piece awaken in you? What do you see that no one may have seen before? Let the art speak to you and then let your ideas flow onto the page! Please remember to revise and edit your essay before submitting it, and be absolutely sure that your submission is no longer than 1000 words.

Need more info?

Through your writing, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words will create new ways of seeing and reading the Albany Museum of Art’s collection. We are looking forward to your art-inspired words! For more information, email HERE

2021 high school essay winners stand with museum officials
2021 High School Winners: L-R, AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf; Sammy James, homeschool, Honorable Mention; Aleesa Kruse, Lee County High School, 1st place; Sophia Scardino, Sherwood Christian Academy, 2nd place; Shivani Yadavalli, Deerfield-Windsor School, Honorable Mention; Clara Lee, Terrell Academy, 3rd place; Annie Vanoteghem, AMA director of education & public programming.