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Student Essay Contest Is Open Feb 1-29

The 9th Annual A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words Contest Opens Feb 1

The Writing Competition Is Open to High School and College Students 

The 9th annual A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words essay competition gets underway on Thursday, Feb 1. The top three essayists in each of the two divisions—high school and college—will earn cash awards for their work at a reception in March at the AMA.

“This competition recognizes talented young writers through a combination of the visual and literary arts,” AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf, Ph.D., said. “It is another example of how the arts reach across disciplines to spark the creativity that resides inside us.”

The submission period opens Thursday, Feb 1, and ends at midnight on Thursday, Feb 29. Total prize money for the contest is $1,000. The first-place writer in each division will win a $250 award, with $150 for second place and $100 for third place. The winners will be announced at the awards reception scheduled for 6 pm on Thursday, March 7, at the museum. The recognized essayists will be invited to read their essays at the event.

To participate, a student must visit the AMA at 311 Meadowlark Drive, Albany, Ga., where six works of art are designated for the competition. The student views the designated artworks, and writes an essay inspired by one of them.

There is no contest fee, and the AMA has free admission, so there is no cost to participate. The museum is open 10 am-5 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays.

“The contest is open to all high school and college students attending Southwest Georgia schools, colleges and universities, as well as students who are attending schools outside the region,” AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said.

Each participating student may submit one essay that cannot exceed 1,000 words. AI (artificial intelligence programs) may not be used to create or enhance the essay. The essay may be factual or fictional, and may be written as prose or poetry.

“It should be based on what the art object the writer selects brings to mind, whether that’s a memory about an experience or a thought that sparks the imagination,” Vanoteghem said.

Each essay will be assigned a numeric ID and all identifying information regarding the writer will be removed before the essays are submitted to a panel of judges. The judges will read and rank the essays, with the combined scores determining the winners.

For the 9th annual contest, the six art objects will include two from Gold Soundz in the Haley Gallery, two from Educators as Artists in the McCormack Gallery, and one each from Andy Warhol: Hand-Colored Flowers in the East Gallery and Old Master Drawings from the Shaffer Collection in the Hodges Gallery. The artworks will have labels showing that they are designated for the competition.

The competition is open to any college student, and to any high school student at a public, private, or home school. Dually enrolled students, who take both high school and college-credit classes, compete in the college division.

Electronic images of the selected artworks will not be shared. The student who participates must visit the AMA to see the selected works.

“We also are encouraging middle school students to participate,” Vanoteghem said. “There are no cash prices for middle school students, but we will give certificates to the top essayists.”

Entries must be emailed HERE by midnight on Feb 29.

Guidelines and frequently asked questions may be found HERE.


  • Gold Soundz, works by Rob Matre is Feb 1-April 20, in the Haley Gallery.
  • Andy Warhol: Hand-Colored Flowers is Feb 1-April 20, in the East Gallery.
  • Educators as Artists, 5th juried exhibition, is Feb 1-April 20 in the McCormack Gallery.
  • Old Master Drawings from the Shaffer Collection opens Feb 1 in the Hodges Gallery.
  • Escape Plan, an installation by Elinor Saragoussi, is in the West Gallery.


The Albany Museum of Art is located at 311 Meadowlark Drive in Albany, Ga., adjacent to Albany State University West Campus just off Gillionville Road. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Albany Museum of Art is open to the public 10 am-5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free.

For more information about the AMA please visit our website, or call 229.439.8400. Be sure to follow the Albany Museum of Art on Facebook and Instagram.