National Portrait Gallery Announces National Teen Portrait Competition

Teen competition to coincide with “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today” featuring the latest in contemporary portraiture from across the U.S.

Triennial Teen Portrait Competition
Teen Photo Exhibition by Matailong Du, 2016. Courtesy Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has announced its Teen Portrait Competition, which is open to students between the ages of 13 and 17 residing in the U.S and its territories. Teens are invited to submit original portraits in the medium of photography to this national competition hosted by the Portrait Gallery’s Teen Museum Council. Artwork by the grand-prize winners for each of the two age groups (13–15 and 16–17 years old) will be displayed in the Portrait Gallery in the summer. The grand-prize winners’ artworks will be on view near the special exhibition “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today,” which showcases portraits made by artists ages 18 and older. There is no fee to enter, and submissions are limited to one per person. Works must be submitted by March 29.

Winners will be selected by the National Portrait Gallery’s Teen Museum Council, a group of 20 high school students from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia who create interactive programs and events inspired by the Portrait Gallery’s collection to increase teen engagement with the museum. The winners, along with those awarded honorable mentions, will have their work featured on the Portrait Gallery’s website.

“The Portrait Gallery wants to hear what teens have to say,” said Irina Rubenstein, education specialist at the museum. “We hope that teens will express themselves through portraiture and participate in this national competition. It’s a chance to see their artwork on view in the nation’s capital.”

The Portrait Gallery wants to hear what teens have to say.

In concert with the Portrait Gallery’s “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today,” an exhibition of work by finalists of the museum’s 2022 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, the Teen Portrait Competition celebrates the art of contemporary portraiture. At the same time, this project “by teens, for teens” widens the lens to include the distinct viewpoints of young people across the U.S. and its territories.

The full list of the competition's rules and requirements is available along with more information about the Teen Museum Council. For more information on the related "The Outwin 2022" exhibition, on view April 29 through Feb. 26, 2023, visit the museum's website.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Connect with the museum at and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.