13-year-old Oakland artist reading from her new collection of poems, This World is Going to Change at the Chapter 510 Annual Children’s Summer Book Fair.

Youth Arts Contest

On October 24, Arts for Oakland Kids will be hosting the Made In Oakland Art-a-Thon. During this telethon style online event, celebrities and dignitaries will be performing original works created by Oakland students.

Until August 31 we are holding a Youth Arts Contest to find the original works of writing, music, and dance that the celebrities will perform!

When winning submissions are associated with a specific arts organization or classroom on the submission form, that program will receive $1,000. With 6 winners being chosen, each program has the chance to win up to $6,000.

Contest details, information on prizes, and a link to the submission form are included below. All submissions are due online by August 31, 2020 before 8pm.

100% of proceeds from the event will fund grants to Bay Area arts organizations and teaching artists who provide arts education in Oakland’s schools.

If you are an Oakland student aged 4-18, you know a youth artist that might like to participate, or you have works by Oakland youth artists that you would like to submit, please see the guidelines below and share this information.

We can’t wait to see all of your brilliant works!


All submissions must be original works.

  • Vocal Music—Rap: lyrics created by you in any rap style
  • Vocal Music—Other: music and lyrics created by you in any style other than rap
  • Writing: spoken word poetry
  • Writing: monologue or short story
  • Dance: choreography created by you in any style
  • Visual Art: original work in any medium.


Arts programs will receive:

  • $1,000 per winning submission

Entries can be made by the artist or by an arts organization, teacher, or school on behalf of the artist. When an organization or program is associated with the submission, that program will receive $1,000 per winning entry.

Winning artists will receive:

  • A new Chromebook computer;
  • The opportunity to have their dance, writing, or music performed by well known celebrities and personalities;
  • The opportunity to have their visual art featured in a professionally designed and branded campaign;
  • A free ticket for them and their family to attend the virtual event where their work will be performed.

When possible, winning artists will also have the chance to meet their celebrity performer via Zoom.


Please read all guidelines carefully.
Incomplete entries will not be considered.

Submission deadline: August 31, 2020 at 8pm.

  1. Contestant must be a current OUSD student. All grades (pre-K-12) are eligible. Students that graduated High School in 2020 are still eligible to enter; students entering pre-K or TK in 2020 are also eligible.
  2. All content (with the exception of backing tracks for the rap or music for the dance) must be ORIGINAL and created by the contestant.
  3. All content must be appropriate for all audiences (G-rated language and content only).
  4. Content can be funny, serious, political, personal, fantastical, or anything the artist chooses to create.
  5. All dance and music submissions must be made via video and performed by the artist. Videos should be no longer than 3 minutes.
  6. Writing submissions can be made via video (3 minutes maximum) or as written submissions in PDF or Word format.
  7. If the winning submission is part of a work that is longer than 3 minutes, Arts for Oakland Kids will provide the option to submit the full work for review with the possibility of having the full work performed during the event.
  8. Music and dance videos can be a cappella or accompanied.
  9. Artists are allowed to accompany themselves, have recorded backing tracks, or have other artists accompany them.
  10. Group submissions are not being accepted this year.
  11. Artists may submit up to 3 different works. The submissions can be in a single category or in any combination of categories. A separate submission form is required for each entry. Please do not submit the same work in multiple categories. If you feel your work could be considered in multiple categories, please choose the category you feel is the strongest fit.
  12. Visual Art may be created digitally or manually (if manually, please take a photo or scan of your work to submit it electronically). Art may include the event title (Made In Oakland Art-a-Thon) but it is not required.
  13. Winners will be notified in September.
  14. If your work is selected, the Youth Artist and/or their Guardian agree to allow Arts for Oakland Kids to utilize the original work submitted in this contest, and the submission video or materials, in marketing, fundraising, and for any other purpose related to the Made In Oakland Art-a-Thon. Additionally, if selected, the Youth Artist and/or their Guardian agrees to the use of the Youth Artist’s likeness, art, and video presence being included in any and all Made In Oakland Art-a-Thon marketing, fundraising, and presentations. No monetary compensation will be provided for the use of said work. The Youth Artist will retain all copyrights to their original work.
  15. Works can be submitted by an arts organization, school, classroom teacher, or independent teaching artist on behalf of the Youth Artist with the understanding, if chosen as the winner, that the Artist’s Guardian will be required to sign a release as detailed in item 14. Programs should only submit work that they feel reasonably sure will be available for use.
  16. If a Guardian cannot be reached or is unwilling to sign a release within 48 hours of selection, the next alternate will be contacted.
  17. Programs will only receive $1,000 awards for winning works that are fully released.
  18. Programs are eligible for $1,000 per winning entry. Funds are unrestricted and can be used for General Operating, except in the case of schools where the funds must be utilized for the classroom or arts program that submitted the entry.
Submission Form

Selection Process

A panel of Arts for Oakland Kids Board members, staff, and partners from arts organizations will be selecting the semi-finalists in each category. To ensure that each submission has an equitable chance and is not in any way fettered by the biases of any adjudicator, every submission will be reviewed by multiple judges, graded using an identical scoring criteria form, scored with an average, and then discussed in a full meeting of adjudicators to allow for discussion.

The top 3-5 semi-finalists in each category will then be presented to the celebrity/dignitary that will be performing in that category.  The celebrity/dignitary will choose the winner in their category.

All contestants will be notified in September of 2020.

Submission Form

If you have any questions or comments, please contact applications@artsforoaklandkids.org. Thank you for helping us create a fun, unique, and successful Made In Oakland event to support arts education in Oakland public schools!

Check out our grantees!