Frequently Asked Questions

General Background & Eligibility

  • What ages do you have to be to enter?
    There are no specific age requirements, artists need to be currently enrolled in a San Francisco Bay Area high school.
  • Where do participants have to live to be eligible?
    All enrolled San Francisco Bay Area high school students in the following counties are welcome to submit artwork to the CYA: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.
  • What are the submission dates?
    The submission period is Oct. 14, 2021 through Jan. 7, 2022.
  • Is there a fee to enter?
    There is NO COST to enter. All operating costs and prizes are covered by the Bay Area Creative Foundation, which is sponsoring the Awards.
  • Can home school students enter?
    Yes! Students may indicate if they are home-schooled in the submission application.

Entering & Submitting Creative work

  • For the group submissions – like music performance or video – do all participants have to be in the required age range?
    Artistic collaborations are welcome in the CYA! Registration will be held with one designated high school enrolled lead artist who will receive the feedback on behalf of the team. All students in the ensemble or team must be enrolled in high school (or lower) grades. When registering on behalf of a group, there will be a place to list each participating member’s name. In the event that the artwork receives an honor, the lead artist will be given the award to share evenly with the group.
  • How do I enter and what is the preferred submission format?
    To enter the 2022 CYA, go to our Submit Now tab. (hyperlink to Submit Now). The details on how to submit for each category are explained on the submission website page with the entry form.
  • What are the digital submission requirements?
    • Images (less than 5 MB): .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .tif, .tiff, .bmp, .tga (Note: You can upload images with any dimensions, as the submission portal resizes images larger than 1280 x 1280 x 72 ppi.)
    • Videos (less than 250 MB in size): .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, .flv, .asf, .mpeg, .mpg, .mkv
    • Audio files (less than 30 MB in size): .mp3, .wma, .ogg, .flac
    • Documents (less than 10 MB): .pdf
  • Can I submit more than one entry and in different categories?
    Yes, you can make submissions in all the categories with a limit of one per category.
  • Are there any excluded topics or themes for the submissions?
    No, but obviously, we ask all participants to use discretion. We encourage creativity and want students to push the limits with their work, however CYA art should be acceptable for a general viewing audience. BACF reserves the right to reject submissions it considers inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous, or libelous. Artwork must not contain material that BACF deems to promote bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or to promote discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
  • How old can my project be and still qualify?
    Entries should have been created while in high school, and submitted by currently enrolled Bay Area high school students.
  • I participated in the CYA last year. May I submit art to this year’s awards?
    Yes! Previous CYA artists are encouraged to submit new work to this year’s event, if they still fit our participation requirements. Previous art submissions to past Creative Youth Awards are ineligible for reconsideration.

Arts Reviews and Awards

  • How are students notified if they are accepted to be published or are winners in the contest?
    Merit Winners will be announced at the annual Creative Youth Celebration in the Spring of 2022 and contacted directly by the BACF. 
  • What are the prizes or awards?
    Our goal is to recognize the top 30% of each category’s entries with awards or prizes.
  • I won a CYA Merit Award last year. Am I eligible for awards this year?
    Students who enter in multiple years may continue to receive merit awards and honors for their NEW work in following years. Note: Artists who have previously won the Presidential Merit Award may submit artwork for review and honors in a subsequent year, however, Presidential Merit Awards are a one-time-award and artists are only eligible to win this particular merit honor once.
  • How will you display the artwork?
    At the conclusion of the Celebration, artworks will be hosted on the Bay Area Creative Foundation’s website in their Creative Gallery.
  • Will I still own the rights to my own work?
    Yes, absolutely. Our only stipulation in the Terms & Conditions is we plan to publicize the submissions and use them to promote the CYA and Celebration.
  • How will the artwork and submissions be reviewed?
    Each CYA artist’s work is carefully reviewed by a panel of professionals who evaluate the submissions using a point-scale with established criteria. Artwork is carefully reviewed to qualify for finalist rounds. The panelists’ scores are added and averaged. One final round is then conducted whereby the reviewers discuss the unmeasurable artistic elements to confirm their collective findings and select Merit Awardees.
  • What are the reviewers looking for?
    The reviewers are looking for inspirational, creative, original art.

Creative Youth Celebration

Award recipients will be announced at the annual Creative Youth Celebration in May 2022. This year’s Creative Youth Celebration will be a hybrid online and in-person event! More information on the Celebration will be released through updates on social media, email, and the BACF website. 

Psychedelic Skateboard
lisa portrait
screenplay Congratulations
cello player
salem drawing