A Pencil in Hand Competition

A Pencil in Hand Art and Writing Competition is a nonprofit, student-run mission dedicated to connecting young artists and writers from all around the globe. It is run by the nonprofit organizations Hope Forward and the Texas Art Initiative.

What is this contest about?

In times of crisis, we encourage participants to express their struggles and how they overcome them through art and writing. We want people of all backgrounds to add their voices to the artistic community, and challenge the boundaries of creativity and imagination.

CURRENT THEME(s): Choose ONE of the following themes:

Describe/portray your personal vision of an utopia. 

Describe/portray an invention you could use to help better the world.

Describe/portray a moment you would want to change in history.

All submissions are due by July 15, 2020, at 11:59 CST.


  1. The participant must be under the age of 18.
  2. Your work must be original. Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but in the event your work is recognized elsewhere we ask that you notify us of your acceptance.
  3. Submit all required materials with their application.  
    1. (for contestants in the 9-12th grade category only) Personal Statement: 300 words MAX. How has art/writing been meaningful to you?  
    2. the work (please name the files after the submission’s title)
  4. Artwork can be of any medium and all dimensions.
  5. You may submit up to five pieces of artwork.
  6. Writing can be of any genre or style. Poetry must be between 100-1000 words. You can have up to a maximum of three poems in one document. Prose and dramatic scripts must be between 500-3000 words.
  7. You may submit up to five pieces of writing.
  8. By submitting your work to our contest, you are giving us permission to feature your work on our website. Should your work be selected, it authorizes us to give you your corresponding prize money.
  9. All papers and artworks will be judged anonymously. (Your name or any other identifying information should not be visible anywhere on your submission.)
  10.  Good luck! We look forward to what you can create! 

How to Submit

Submission Form


K-2nd grade

WINNER: $50 (art and writing)


3-5th grade

WINNER: $100 (art and writing)


6-8th grade

WINNER: $200 (art and writing)


9-12th grade

WINNER: $300 (art and writing)


If you are selected as a winner or runner-up, we will contact you further to deliver you the appropriate prize money and recognition.

Additionally, all division winners will have their artwork and writing featured on our website.

This contest is free to enter! Hope Forward continues to remain a nonprofit organization, but if you wish to donate to the funds against COVID-19 you may do so on our Donations page. If you are interested in free tutorial sessions, you may contact us from our Home Page.

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