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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

9th Annual High School & College Essay Contest

Deadline for Entries Is February 29, 2024

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.

Students: Read the rules below and submit your essay HERE.

Dates, Guidelines, FAQs & Winners

  • The submission period for essays opens Feb 1, 2024.
  • The submission period for essays closes at midnight, Feb 29, 2024.
  • Winners will be announced at an awards reception at 6 pm on March 7 at the AMA.
  • Essays should be mailed in Word format HERE.

Who can compete?

There are two divisions: college and high school.

College Division: Any student who attends a college or university.

High School Division: Any student who attends a public, private, or home school.

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

Use of AI is not permitted

By submitting an entry to the contest, the student affirms that artificial intelligence was not used in creating the essay. Use of AI disqualifies a writer from the contest.

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.

The six designated art objects will be labeled in the galleries during the month of February.

NOTE: Electronic images of the selected works will not be provided. The participating student must visit the AMA to see the designated art objects.

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 on March 7, 2024, at the AMA. 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.