Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve's Youth Art Showcase

Youth Art Showcase with a drawing of a turtle, NPS arrowhead logo, and Atchafalaya National Heritage Area logo.

NPS/Kalix Burnetz

2023 Theme
Waterways of the Atchafalaya Area

Atchafalaya (think of a sneeze: uh-CHA-fuh-lie-uh) is a Choctaw word that means “long river.” As America’s largest freshwater swamp, the Atchafalaya is filled with many waterways, such as bayous, rivers, and swamps. The Atchafalaya is home to many unique animals, plants, and cultures that relied on the abundance of the area for food and natural resources. Whether it’s trapping, fishing, hunting, or gathering, the Atchafalaya is abundant with critters and resources necessary for survival. Many cultural groups, from the Native Americans to the Cajuns, lived off the land in the Atchafalaya area.
Some important things to think about when creating your artwork are:

  • What is the importance of the Atchafalaya?
  • How did cultural groups, such as the Native Americans, Cajuns, and Creoles, use the resources from the waterways?
  • What unique plants and animals depend on the Atchafalaya waterways?
  • How has the Atchafalaya changed over time?

2023 Youth Art Showcase Winners

Congratulations to our 2023 Youth Art Showcase winners! The exhibition is on display at the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette until March 29, 2024.
  • Grades 6-8
    • Addison G.
    • Ida J.
    • Madison L.
    • Mya M.
    • Alex M.
    • Tatum S.
    • Slade T.
    • Gage T.
  • Grades 9-10
    • Tré B.
    • Amelia C.
    • Jade F.
    • Ella-Grace H.
    • C.C. P.
    • Luke R.
    • Audrey R.
    • Cecilia S.
  • Grades 11-12
    • Shayne L.
    • Zoe L.
    • Samuel S.

Competition Guidelines

This exhibition aims to have students create a personal understanding of the theme as well as find another way to express themselves and create messages through art.

Participant must currently be in grade 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12. Participant must attend school in Ascension Parish, Assumption Parish, Avoyelles Parish, Concordia Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Iberia Parish, Iberville Parish, Lafayette Parish, Point Coupee Parish, St. Landry Parish, St. Martin Parish, St. Mary Parish, or Terrebonne Parish.

Each participant is allowed to submit one piece of art. Artwork must be an original piece, completed solely by the participant.

Most media are accepted; however, oil painting, three dimensional, and digital art will not be accepted.  

Examples of what is accepted: Graphite, pastels, oil pastels, watercolor, acrylic paint, charcoal, color pencil, ink, mixed media, etc.  

To prevent judge bias, artwork cannot be signed on the front.

Artwork may not weigh more than 5 pounds. The maximum size of the piece allowed is 19”x15”.

Submissions & Timeline

Applicants will submit their artwork using this online submission form. The submission photo must not be altered in anyway (enhanced, photoshopped, etc.). File sizes are limited to 25 MB. There is no fee to enter this art competition.

If your artwork is selected as a winning piece, it is the applicant’s responsibility to drop off in-person or mail the piece to the Acadian Cultural Center (501 Fisher Road, Lafayette, LA 70508) or the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center (314 St. Mary Street, Thibodaux, LA 70301). The applicant must pick the artwork up during the designated time frame after the exhibition from the cultural center it was originally mailed to/dropped-off at. More information on drop off/mailing and pickup will be provided at a later time via email.
By submitting an entry, an entrant agrees to allow the National Park Service to use his or her name to post on the NPS websites, without compensation. All entries and all rights of ownership in and to the entries, including all rights to use, reproduce, publish, modify, edit, and distribute the same will become the exclusive property of NPS. NPS reserves the right to edit, modify, copyright, publish, use, and reproduce any and all entries without further compensation. The National Park Service, its agents and contractor, are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, incomplete, or postage-due entries. Contest void where prohibited or restricted by law.

The artwork must be related to the competition theme “Waterways of the Atchafalaya Area.” All art styles are allowed.

Using the online submission form, you must submit the following items in addition to required information:  

  • Artist Statement 

  • Digital file of artwork 

Note: Winning artwork must be completely dry by the time of drop off or it will not be hung in the exhibition. Any artwork on paper must be framed or backed with a sturdy material for hanging such as thin wood, canvas, matte board, or thick poster paper. If the artwork is backed, it must have a 1”-2” border to allow for hanging. If you use a canvas, it must have a mechanism attached so it can be hung. Wire is preferred.

Submissions are accepted beginning Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at 8:30 AM CST. Submissions are due by Saturday, December 2, 2023, at 11:59 PM CST. Late entries will not be accepted.

Submission Start Date: November 1, 2023, 8:30 am CST  

Submission End Date: December 2, 2023, 11:59 pm CST  

Winners Announced: December 16, 2023 

Acadian Cultural Center Youth Art Showcase Ceremony & Exhibition Opening: TBD



Judges will be Park Rangers from Jean Laffite National Historical Park and Preserve and staff from the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. Judges will score the artworks based on concept/design, creativity, is it National Park ready, and your artist statement.

Judges will judge the artwork based on: 

  1. Concept/Design: Does the artwork address the theme in a clear and inventive way? 

  1. Creativity: Does the artwork provoke a new perspective and showcase a new point of view? 

  1. National Park Ready: Does it provide a message a National Park wants to stand behind? Is it appropriate? 

  1. Artist Statement: Does the statement provide insight to their artistic process, meaning behind the piece, and their creativity? 

Each aspect the artwork is judged on is worth a certain number of points: 

  • Concept/Design: 40 points   

  • Creativity: 30 points   

  • National Park Ready: 20 points   

  • Artist Statement: 10 points 

The Youth Art Showcase has 3 divisions based on the grade level of applicants: 

  • 6-8 grade: Top 3, 5 Honorable mentions   

  • 9-10 grade: Top 3, 5 Honorable mentions 

  • 11-12 grade: Top 3, 5 Honorable mentions 

For each division, there will be a 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, and 5 honorable mentions. A total of 24 pieces will be selected to exhibit their artwork at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve's Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette.

Placing participants will have artwork displayed in a special art exhibition at Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve’s Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. Here, the artwork will be viewed by visitors from across the world. Winning participants will receive a certificate, National Park memorabilia item, and an Atchafalaya National Heritage Area memorabilia item. Honorable mentions will receive a certificate.


Last updated: March 16, 2024

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