Art Contests

Types of Art Contests

Connecting your school food program to the classroom increases food literacy among students. Though curriculum change is challenging, many teachers will respond to activities that they can easily incorporate into existing lessons. Art contests are an especially easy way to work with teachers (art teachers in particular, if the district has them). When planning an art contest, we recommend incorporating a theme such as Harvest of the Month.

Types of Art Contests

Poster Art Contest

Add one-of-a-kind artwork to your cafeteria walls by engaging your students in a school food poster contest. Here are some ideas for poster contest themes:

  • Harvest of the Month
  • What it means to be healthy
  • Posters to encourage recycling and/or composting in the lunchroom

Display the winning posters in cafeterias throughout the district.

Calendar Art Contest

Enhance your menu calendar with original student artwork. You can adapt our guidelines to any theme you’d like, but we encourage a Harvest of the Month campaign to instill the values of local, seasonality, and sustainability.

Here are examples from Boulder Valley School District of menu calendars for both primary and secondary schools. You can work with a graphic designer or print shop to develop your own menu calendar template.

How to Host an Art Contest

This is a step-by-step plan for hosting a food-related Art Contest in your school district. The guide provides links to communication templates that can be customized for your own Art Contest.


  1. If you haven’t already done so, choose a vegetable or fruit (including beans and whole grains) for each month of the school year for an ongoing “Harvest of the Month” educational program.’s State-Specific Seasonal Produce Guides can help with your planning.
  2. If you’re creating a calendar, decide whether it will be printed yearly or monthly. Get printing costs for the posters or menu calendars and determine classroom prize money for participating art teachers.
  3. Use our Calendar Contest Sponsorship Letter or Poster Art Contest Sponsorship Letter to reach out to potential vendors who can help pay for printing costs as well as classroom prize money. Note: Current district vendors are great potential sponsors. The contests provide them with the opportunity to promote their business as an existing vendor.
  4. Send an Art Contest Announcement Letter to administration to announce the contest and to find out if their school would like to participate.
  5. Once you know which schools plan to participate, assign each of them a Harvest of the Month month and then send out a Calendar Menu Art Call for Entries or Poster Art Contest Call for Entries with the assignments included. Be sure to send a Calendar Contest Student Submission Form or Poster Contest Student Submission Form as well.
  6. Send a reminder email to art teachers four weeks prior to the deadline.

Selection and Distribution

  1. Assemble a group of judges from the district. Involving many departments will extend the reach of your Harvest of the Month program. Suggested department judges include: food service, communications, and fine arts.
  2. Try to ensure that every participating school has at least one winner. Inform all participants of winners by sending a Winner Selection Letter
  3. If you are creating a calendar, see BVSD's menu calendar examples. You can work with a graphic designer or print shop to develop your own template.
  4. Poster artwork should be scanned digitally and resized to fit your needs. Lunch program and sponsor logos can be added to the layout at this time. Use student submission forms to create student information tags to hang next to each poster.

Event Follow-Up

  1. Send a Sponsor Thank You Letter along with a copy of the calendar or poster.
  2. Distribute menu calendars the first week of school. Posters should be sent to kitchen leads to hang in their cafeterias with student information tags.

Art Contest Resources

Take advantage of the following resources and documents when planning your own art contests. You can tailor them to meet your event specifications.

Documents and Resources

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