• Knox County Schools Visual Arts Department

    Policy on Contests, Competitions, and Exhibitions

    Knox County Schools (KCS) Visual Art Department endorses only supervised and thoughtfully presented art contests, competitions, or exhibitions at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Art experiences need to reflect the national and state standards of a comprehensive art education. They may reflect any or all of the four components: studio productions, art history, aesthetics, and criticism.

    The art teacher must carefully consider and evaluate each contest, competition, or exhibition based upon these criteria:

    1. The endeavor is educationally relevant and instructionally valuable.

    2. National or state visual arts standards are supported.

    3. Expectations are developmentally appropriate.
    4. The contest/competition fits into the KCS instructional sequence without disruption.
    5. The structure, procedures, and timeline are reasonable.
    6. Particular products or businesses are not endorsed.
    7. The purpose and audience are compatible to the goals of art education.
    8. Support and recognition are given to all participants without exploitation.
    9. Qualified judges select work based upon published criteria.
    10. Participation is optional for students.
    11. Prior parental permission is obtained for release, publication, and reproduction of students’ names and artwork.


    Contest- artwork created according to a pre-chosen theme (ex. my community or car safety) or artform (ex. a t-shirt or poster contest) and adjudicated. Works of art may be awarded, placed on display, or produced for the contest promoters' benefit (ex. printed on a t-shirt and given out at an event)

    Competition- artwork that has been adjudicated. Works of art may be awarded or be placed on display.

    Exhibition- artwork that has not been adjudicated. Works of art may be curated prior to be placed on display.

    Contests, competitions, and exhibitions are desirable in cases where:
    • The nature and purposes are compatible with standards of a comprehensive art education and the goals and objectives of the district art education program.

    • The topic has educational value and meets the needs, interests, and concerns of the learners and teachers.

    • The display of student work demonstrates the instruction, standards, thought processes, and creative problem solving strategies involved in artistic learning.
    • Students can participate in the contest or competition in a variety of roles other than making art, including setting up the display, or acting as jurors, judges, or docents.
    • Recognition is given to all children whose work is submitted at the school level as well as those selected for final competition.

    • Opportunity is provided for public recognition for the quality work produced by children under the tutelage of a qualified art teacher.

    • Art teachers are given an opportunity to provide feedback to the sponsor and to positively influence future contest initiatives by community groups.
    • Qualified art teachers are provided an opportunity by the initiating agency to participate in the planning and development of the contest or competition.
    Contests, competitions, and exhibitions are undesirable in cases where:
    • One student or one artwork is singled out as being intrinsically superior over another, especially at the elementary level. This is counter to the belief that art education should be directed toward developing the creative potential of a wide spectrum of student capabilities.
    • Standardization of skill or technique is specified or encouraged. This practice limits student expression instead of developing diversity of expression.

    • Artistic expression is compromised. Students and teachers are exploited by the interests of the sponsors. This is counter to the belief that effective instruction is based upon the needs, interests, and purposes of learners and teachers along with local, state, and national art curricula and standards.
    • Participation and completion requires too much instructional time. Many students, especially at the elementary level, often meet once a week, or less, for art instruction. Diverting this precious instructional time may not be in the best educational interest of the students.