National Portrait Gallery Announces National Teenage Portrait Competition | Smithsonian Voices

Photo exhibition of teenagers by Matailong Du, 2016. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has announced its Teenage Portrait Contest, open to students ages 13-17 residing in the United States and its territories. Teenagers are invited to submit original portraits in the medium of photography to this national competition organized by the Teen Museum Council of the Portrait Gallery. The works of the grand prize winners for each of the two age groups (13-15 and 16-17) will be displayed in the portrait gallery this summer. The works of the grand prize winners will be displayed near the special exhibition “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today”, which features portraits by artists aged 18 and over. Registration is free and registrations are limited to one per person. Works must be submitted before 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 adolescent engagement with the museum. Winners, as well as honorable mention winners, will have their work featured on the Portrait Gallery website.

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

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


In concert with The Portrait Gallery’s “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today,” an exhibition of works by finalists in the museum’s 2022 Outwin Boocher Portrait Competition, the Teen Portrait Competition celebrates the art of contemporary portraiture. At the same time, this “by teens, for teens” project broadens the lens to include the distinct perspectives of young people across the United States and its territories.

The full list of contest rules and requirements is available along with more information from the Teen Museum Council. For more information on the related exhibition “The Outwin 2022”, from April 29 to February 26, 2023, visit the museum’s website.

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

Julia P. Cluff