The National Portrait Gallery announces the winners of the Museum’s 2022 National Teenage Portrait Competition

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has announced that Sara Sonnenblick of Florida and Otto Graunewald of Michigan will be the overall winners of the museum’s National Teenage Portrait Competition. Modeled after the museum’s triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Contest, the Teenage Portrait Contest is open to students ages 13-17 residing in the United States and its territories. It yielded eight finalists, with Sonnenblick and Graunewald winning first prize in their respective age categories. Their grand prize-winning photographs will be on display in the Portrait Gallery from July 29 to February 26, 2023.

This year, teens were invited to submit portraits in the medium of photography, and the competition received nearly 300 entries from 22 states and Washington, D.C. The photographs were reviewed by the Portrait Gallery‘s curator of photographs , Leslie Ureña, and the Teen Museum Council, a group of high school students from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia who aim to increase teen engagement with the museum by creating interactive programs and events inspired by the collection of the Portrait Gallery.

“The Teenage Portrait Competition allows the National Portrait Gallery to engage with aspiring artists, giving teenagers a platform to share their ideas about the genre of portraiture with the world,” said Ureña. “As with the Outwin Boocher Portrait Contest, the submissions provided insight into our recent history. It was truly wonderful to see how teenagers are engaging with the world and using portraiture to explore the themes that affect their lives and that of those around them.

Sonnenblick won the category for 16-17 year olds with a portrait entitled “Neither this nor that”. The photograph, which depicts a young man in an open pink silk robe, invites viewers to explore ideas of “femininity” and “masculinity.” Grunewald’s black and white self-portrait ‘Trapped’ won the category for 13-15 year olds. The artist, who suffers from generalized epilepsy, uses photography to expressively communicate about the challenges he faces. The eight finalists explore identity through the eyes of teenagers in the United States today and tackle themes ranging from gender, race and body image to the conditions of American workers, as well as the crimes committed against indigenous women.

The two winning photographs will be displayed at the Portrait Gallery near “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today” exhibit, which features portraits of finalists in the triennial Outwin Boocher Portrait Competition aged 18 and over. Both competitions celebrate contemporary portraiture. The works of the eight teenage finalists will be featured on the Portrait Gallery website.

Further information about the Teen Portrait Contest and related Portrait Gallery programming, including teen-led tours and activities, is available.

Audience Award

The public can vote for their favorite 2022 Outwin Boocher Portrait Contest finalist until October 16. The People’s Choice Award is given to the artist with the most votes at the end of the voting period, and the winner receives $500. The winner will be announced at the end of October. Visitors can vote online for their favorite finalists.

portrait festival

The National Portrait Gallery will host a portrait festival on Saturday, September 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Kogod Court and around the museum. The community celebration will welcome visitors of all ages to enjoy workshops and talks with artists featured in “The Outwin 2022” exhibition, including a live performance by artist Holly Bass. Visitors can learn about the Outwin Boocher Portrait Contest, make art, and explore identity through portraiture in this free public program.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted history of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the story of the nation.

The National Portrait Gallery is located at Eighth and G Streets NW, Washington, DC Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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Julia P. Cluff