Calendar Contest Invites Students’ Painting, Drawing, Digital Art

GilaCountyGovernmentMonthGraphic400There’s so much to love about Gila County, from our iconic Roosevelt Lake Bridge (the longest two-lane, single-span, steel-arch bridge in North America), to spectacular views along the Mogollon Rim. From copper to cattle, sunrises to sunsets, mountains and main streets -- we all have our favorites. Students age 18 and under are invited to submit art that illustrates what they love about Gila County in a nationwide contest that opened this week, and is sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) ahead of April’s annual observance of National County Government Month.
And since entries are submitted via email -- Gila County offers additional chances for local prizes and public display, inviting our local participants to enter their art right here - before also submitting separately to the NACo contest. Deadline for Gila County entries is April 16; allowing artwork to be displayed in the courthouse lobby during April’s annual observance of National County Government Month.
For NACo’s nationwide contest,  the deadline is May 31.
With the national contest, winning artwork (18 entries in all) will be selected and featured in a glossy 18-month NACo calendar -- with 40,000 copies to be distributed to NACo members nationwide. Winners will also be announced in NACo’s County News publication, and students’ artwork may be featured at NACo events and at NACo headquarters in Washington, D.C.
And this is cool -- NACo’s contest winners will receive pizza parties for their class from the calendar sponsor. Entries aren’t limited to drawing and painting -- artwork “must display artistic skill in painting, drawing or digital art,” so photography and creative photo-illustrations are also eligible.
Gila County’s local affiliate of the nationwide contest will accept entries through April 16, following the same eligibility and thematic guidelines below for the NACo contest,
but emailed to
For the NACo competition, submission continues through May 31, 2021. There is no entry fee. And its so easy and convenient to enter, students simply upload their artwork online via

Gila County earned a spotlight in nationwide news this month  when the New York Times, CNN and countless affiliates reported that our public health team and community partners were the first of all counties in the land to open covid-19 vaccinations to all ages and categories of residents within our county, as well as nonresidents who travel here for work. Gila County is already ‘on the map’ in many ways, and now students up to age 18 have a chance to spotlight Gila County on a calendar!

Overall theme of the calendar is ‘Counties Matter’ and students are invited to complete the sentence “I love my county because…” with an accompanying creative work of art depicting an aspect of what Gila County accomplishes in our community. You could spotlight Gila County public works - with an illustration of the scenic route 288, the road to Young. Or public health staff battling covid-19. Or how about summer job opportunities for teens? Sheriff’s deputies and public safety? Voter outreach during the fair, efficient and safe 2020 election overseen by staff of the Gila County Recorder’s Office, and Elections Department? Gila County offers ample subject matter to choose from and illustrate. Before submitting any artwork for consideration, students should verify they are eligible, and follow these competition guidelines:


  • Only students living in the United States, who are 18 years of age and younger in grades 1 through 12 during the 2020–2021 academic year are eligible.
  • Each submission must be original artwork created in the current school year by one student.

 Artwork guidelines

  • Submitted artwork must present a county activity that shows how “Counties Matter” and inspired by the sentence “I love my county because…”
  • The artwork must reflect some aspect of a county government function, service or program, to celebrate National County Government Month.
  • The artwork must be horizontal 11" x 8.5" (PDF or JPEG). The most important elements of the artwork must not extend beyond 10.5" 8" to account for trimming during the calendar production process.

 Judging criteria

  • Technical skill: The artwork must display artistic skill in painting, drawing or digital art.
  • Creativity: The artwork must be original in its expression of a personal vision or voice. It must be the student's own work and cannot be plagiarized or in violation of any copyright.
  • Artist’s statement: Along with the artwork, each student is required to submit a statement that explains how “Counties Matter” in their community or complete the sentence “I love my county because…”
  • Each entry must include the artist’s name, grade, school, county and contact information (for the student, a parent or guardian’s email address and phone number) and a teacher (email address and phone numbers).

Deadline and submission requirements

  • The competition submission period closes May 31, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
  • Students must submit their artwork for consideration via
  • The artwork must be submitted as a PDF or JPEG. (Winners will be notified and asked to mail their original artwork to NACo.)
  • The artist’s statement including name, age, grade level, school, teacher or art teacher and contact information for a guardian or teacher must be submitted as a .doc or .docx file.
  • For digital art or graphic design submissions, the design must be 300 dpi and RGB color.
  • Only one submission per student is allowed.
  • There is no entry fee.