‘It’s Our Turn:’ COVID-19 art contest for youth and young adults offers $250 prize for 12 winners

Collage of people creating art

With their passion and creativity, many individuals have found ways to add their unique spin on public service messages, especially regarding COVID-19 mask wearing or vaccination brochures or videos.

The Arizona Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities hopes to inspire Arizona youth and young adults to showcase their artistic talents through the new “It’s Our Turn” contest—a unique art contest for 16- to 25-year-olds. Participants will receive $10 for their first submission. Twelve winners will each receive a $250 gift card.

CEAL consists of a partnership between Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Mayo Clinic and the Arizona Community Health Workers Association. Together, with members and leaders of African American, Latino/a/x and Native American communities, CEAL aims to provide trustworthy COVID-19 information through active community engagement and outreach to the people hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “It’s Our Turn” contest is the newest CEAL effort. Through this contest, youth and young adults can submit their own creative take on a health message about COVID-19 vaccinations and masks, or another pandemic-related health effect on youth.

“It’s Our Turn” is also a research study to understand how messages created by youth and young adults help protect communities from COVID-19 and how they can raise awareness on how the pandemic has affected this age group.

The contest opened to the public for submissions on Sept. 10 and will close on Oct. 16. Contestants are encouraged to choose the artistic medium of their choice. Some examples include a TikTok or YouTube video, painting, photography, drawing, animation, meme, song/rap, poetry, podcast—or any other approach that allows youth to express their ideas.

Contestants must be 16 to 25 years old and live or attend school anywhere in Arizona. All gender and racial or ethnic identities are encouraged to submit. Contestants may submit as many pieces as they would like but will only be compensated $10 for their first submission. Public health experts will choose the finalists. Community members will then choose 12 winners to each receive a $250 gift card prize.

“It’s been a tough year and a half for all of us, including youth and young adults. ‘It’s Our Turn’ will show the strength and creativity of Arizona youth and young adults in keeping our communities safe by encouraging vaccines and masks, and raise awareness of the challenges youth and young adults continue to face,” said Linnea Evans, assistant professor at Northern Arizona University’s Center for Health Equity Research and Department of Health Sciences.

“Mask mandates have been lifted, large events are happening and schools are returning to in-person learning—but we know it’s not over yet,” Evans said. “Engaging youth in the pandemic response is critical as we continue to see new COVID-19 variants and spikes in cases and deaths.”

For more information on how to enter the contest, visit CHER’s website.

NAU Communications