First Amendment Freedoms Art & Essay Contest

$1,000–$5,000Award Amount
2Number of Awards
12/31/2022Submission Deadline

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Grade Level:

The Anti-Defamation League uses this platform to create awareness of the First Amendment through the First Amendment Freedom Art & Essay Contest. Students are expected to participate by submitting a two-page essay or creating a work of art that addresses a topic related to the First Amendment.

The contest is limited to students from the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Participants must be in middle school or high school in the above eligible states.

The First Amendment Freedom Art & Essay Contest awards first place winner $5,000 and second place holder $1,000. The participants need to submit an essay or an art project to win this scholarship.

Key Information of First Amendment Freedoms Art & Essay Contest

Study Details

Area of Study


Country of Study

United States

Specific Schools


Scholarship Details

Intended Level of Study

  • Middle School
  • High School

Award Amount


Number of Awards


First Amendment Freedoms Art & Essay Contest Timeline

September 10, 2022

Application Opening Date

Applications usually open on September 10.

December 31, 2022

Submission Deadline

The deadline for applications is around the end of the month at 11.59 PM CST.

March 1, 2023

Award Announcement

The award winners are announced at the beginning of the month.

Scholarship Eligibility

To be eligible to apply, applicants must meet the following criteria.

  • Eligible Grade: Middle School – High School Senior
  • Maximum Age: Any
  • Required GPA: Any
  • Geographic Eligibility: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • Gender: Any
  • Race/Ethnicity: Any

Application Requirements

Here’s what you need to submits besides your application.

  • Essay
  • Special Project

How to ace the First Amendment Freedoms Art & Essay Contest


Submit your original work

Applicants must submit an original and unpublished essay. Applicants for both the essay and artwork must ensure that the work submitted is their sole and original work that has not appeared anywhere else.


Follow the essay guidelines

The contest has guidelines that need to be followed for your submission to be accepted into the contest. Follow the guidelines to the last word and do not omit any instruction given and provide all the relevant information required.


Use the right format

Submission for the essay has an outline format and method of submission for the document. The artwork also has a format that should be used to present the visual project, ensuring that you follow the format requirements for your entry to be well received.


Review your written explanation

Applicants in the art category should submit a 250-word explanation paragraph to accompany their project. The paragraph should explain what the artwork represents and include an explanation of the medium used. ensure that it is concise but also accurately outlines your idea.

How the First Amendment Freedoms Art & Essay Contest is Judged

Entries are judged based solely on the quality of the essay or the artwork. Winners are selected by each category of the entrant’s grade level. Both applicants for the two categories are judged based on originality, design, creativity, and interpretation/ understanding of the theme.

Why We Love the First Amendment Freedoms Art & Essay Contest


Teachers must submit an entry

Despite the contest requiring students to apply on their own, teachers may submit an entry on behalf of the student. The student, however, only needs to complete a separate entry form in this case.


Encourages creativity

The contest encourages the submission of other forms of creative writing. This includes poems and short stories, provided the writers address the prompt.


Supports art

The contest supports art and rewards all types of artists who submit entries that are within the guidelines. It accepts art submissions that come in the form of drawings, collages, print, and photography.

5 Facts About First Amendment Freedoms Art & Essay Contest


Only one entry per student

The First Amendment Freedoms Art & Essay Contest only accepts one entry per student each academic year.


Affiliates of ADL are not eligible

Employees, the board of directors, and their immediate families are not eligible for the contest.


Permission and release forms must be signed

Parents and guardians of the applicants need to sign permission and release forms before the winners receive their prizes.


Teachers are awarded

The teacher with the most entries is invited to the award ceremony and is awarded $1,000.


Submissions become the property of ADL

Submissions are not returned and all entries become the property of the Anti-Defamation League.

Legg Mason’s Community Scholarship

The scholarship, managed by Baltimore City Foundation (BCF), is awarded to high school students in Maryland pursuing a degree at a four-year public institution in Maryland. The award is renewable.

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Required GPA
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Creative and Performing Arts Scholarships

The University of Maryland Department of Art offers fully-funded Creative and Performing Arts Scholarships of up to $20,000 to eight undergraduate students including freshmen and eligible transfer students.

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Required GPA
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