High School Competition

Put your talents to the test for the 2023–24 Discover FAA High School Competition! All students in grades 9–12 are encouraged to participate. Challenge yourself to stretch your abilities, explore the wide variety of classes and majors offered within the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and compete for a $100 Illini Union Bookstore gift certificate or a scholarship to a 2024 summer program. Through these yearly competitions, we hope to encourage a future generation of creative thinkers and emphasize the importance of the arts in society.

acting shot, architectural shot, and portrait

Competition Briefs for 2023–24

Registration opens on September 1.

See the winning entries to get inspiration for your submission.


All entries must be of an architectural nature. You are encouraged to draw from life, but creative liberty is desirable as well. Although art drawn by hand is strongly recommended, we will also accept original digital work.

A portrait can communicate much more than a likeness, and in this competition there are few boundaries. You are encouraged to explore personal identity, cultural differences, and all that makes you who you are. With a wide variety of media to select from (painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography are all acceptable), it is up to you to select how to best depict yourself. Digital work must be fully created by you (not a manipulation of an existing image).

Calling all choreographers! We are looking for original choreography that demonstrates your skill and potential as a creative artist in dance. Video submissions should be under five minutes long and can feature a solo or group work in any dance genre.

If you could design your own play space, what would it look like? A hand drawing, computer-generated artwork, or a collage of inspirational imagery will all be accepted.

Items to consider in your design:

  • Must have green space appropriate for its location.
  • Must have a water feature (can be seasonal).
  • Should encourage play by a variety of age groups.

Optional: You may include a brief written description of your design process.

See the inspiration board.

Senior entrants: Submit a video online in which you perform 10 minutes of music of your choice.

Please note: this is not the same submission for the application talent review process. For audition details, check the School of Music undergraduate audition requirements for your specific instrument.

Freshman/sophomore/junior entrants: Submit a video of a performance of 10 minutes of music of your choice.

Design a poster that helps the public visualize, understand, and imagine what a Green New Deal could accomplish. The Green New Deal is a set of legislative proposals, inspired by the Depression-era New Deal, that would help curb the effects of climate change and transform the U.S. economy and infrastructure. Artists, through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), were critical to publicizing the New Deal. Similarly, designers can play a critical role in the Green New Deal. Following the example of the Creative Action Network, here are the guidelines:


  • Restoration of wetlands
  • Building retrofits
  • Ocean health
  • Climate refugees
  • Income inequality
  • Racial equality/climate justice
  • Lower energy costs for citizens
  • Job retraining/continuing education
  • Zero-emission vehicles
  • Green public transportation
  • Reforestation

Your poster design should:

  • Include the text “Green New Deal” in some capacity.
  • Take stylistic inspiration from (but not be limited by) the art of the original New Deal/WPA.
  • Emphasize diversity, equality, cooperation, and coming together to save the country and the world.
  • Be a vertically oriented, 12″ by 16″ RGB image at a resolution of 300dpi (3600 × 4800 pixels) that is a JPG or PNG.
  • Be full bleed (no margins or borders).
  • Keep a safe area of at least 1″ on all sides (do not place text too close to the edge).

Your poster design should not:

  • Be partisan or mention any political group or candidate.
  • Include URLs or logos (small artist signatures are fine).
  • Use copyrighted images like brand logos, editorial photography of celebrities or politicians, or someone else’s artwork. All images you use should be your own or available under a creative commons or other similar license.

Present a monologue. The material may be traditional or contemporary but must be no more than two minutes in length. Use no costumes, props, or extensive staging. Please include a brief paragraph of no more than 100 words explaining the context of the monologue and your understanding of the character.

Urban Planning | Ideal City

You have no doubt been influenced by your hometown, places you have traveled, and how cities are depicted on TV and in movies. Now it’s time to create your own city: How does your ideal city look and why? Why would people want to live in your city?

Follow these instructions when creating your entry:

  • State your vision and the goals that you feel would be accomplished through your design, spatial organization, and public policy.
  • Develop urban design features or concepts that support your goals.
  • Show your design elements in your sketch(es) and/or collage of images.
  • Put your vision and goals in a written statement. How will your design produce a better city than conventional urban development would? The length is up to you (but likely three pages would be sufficient).

Your material may be submitted in one of two formats:

  1. Two Microsoft Word documents: one containing your written statement and a second one containing the accompanying images/sketches
  2. A PowerPoint presentation containing both text and images

Faculty judges will consider the following criteria when evaluating your submission:

  • Whether you presented a clear vision and clear goals;
  • The comprehensiveness of what you considered in terms of the components of a city; and
  • The overall thoughtfulness/creativity of your ideas.

You will not be judged on your artistic skills in your drawing. Only your ideas will be considered.

Additional Information

1. All entrants must be currently in grades 9–12. Homeschooled students are encouraged to enter.

2. All entries must be original and authored by one individual.

3. Students may submit one entry for only one contest per year.


Competition Timeline

Senior Competition

Register early. Registrations are accepted on a rolling basis starting on September 1 until 24 hours prior to the deadline. Once you register, entry directions will be provided.

  • The deadline to register and upload entries is Wednesday, November 1, 2023.
  • Winners will be announced by Friday, December 15, 2023.

Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior Competition

Register early. Registrations are accepted on a rolling basis starting on September 1 until 24 hours prior to the entry deadline. Once you register, entry directions will be provided.

  • The deadline to register and upload entries is Friday, March 1, 2024.
  • Winners will be announced by Friday, April 5, 2024.


The winning senior for each competition will receive a $100 gift certificate for purchases at the Illini Union Bookstore. Purchases can be made in person or online.

The winning freshman/sophomore/junior for each competition will receive one scholarship to attend an FAA summer program. Eligible programs are the FAA Summer Intensive, Discover Architecture, and Illinois Summer Youth Music.

Cookie Settings