Art Writing Challenge Deadline extended to December 31, 2019! Plus FAQ answered

PLEASE NOTE: The Challenge Deadline has been extended to December 31, 2019. Two more months for you to apply! Artblog is thrilled to announce the 2019 Art Writing Challenge, a FREE contest with cash prizes, to support emerging writers who are passionate about the arts in Philadelphia. Our motivation? To get more people talking, writing, and thinking about art in our wonderful city. Submit your article today, or before Dec. 31, at any rate.

Dear readers and writers, we have pushed back the deadline for the Art Writing Challenge in order to allow more of you to consider submitting an article and to give you two months more to compose and submit your piece to the contest to try for the chance at significant cash prizes and publication on Artblog. See all the details and rules at our previous posting.

We have gotten some good questions this year about the contest’s rules.  Below are some FAQ’S and and our responses, which may clarify for you. If you still are unclear please email us at We can set up a time for a phone call.

Artblog New Writers Contest keyboard
Warm up your keyboards and get writing for the Artblog Art Writing Challenge!


Q. What qualifies as a professional writer? Is there a standard or criteria for what qualifies as professional?
A. The Art Writing Challenge is a contest for emerging writers. It is assumed an emerging writer can be of any age (as can an emerging artist). We are talking rather about a person’s level of experience as a writer, for example, have they been published before and how many times? Do they feel that they are emerging writers, that is, at the beginning of their career as a writer.Here are our criteria for who is not eligible:

  • Writers who are or have been salaried to write articles for print or online publication are not eligible within the scope of this contest.
  • Writers who have made $3000 or more in one calendar year from their writing are not eligible.
  • Writers who have contributed previously to Artblog and been paid are still eligible as long as they meet the above criteria.

Q. I was a contributing writer for 2 local online outlets through writing a few articles a year, and was given a small fee for these contributions but not salaried. Do I qualify for the Challenge?
A. If you did not receive $3,000/year in payment from the publication then you are eligible.

Q. Can the art featured be something that happened once, or does it have to be a longer standing work?
A. The art can be something that happened once, yes.

Q. Can I write about my personal experience with music or art, that is, my own journey?
A. Yes, you can absolutely write about your personal journey or experience.

Q. Can I write an article about a collaborative performance I participated in?
A. Yes, a first person narrative about an art experience you were in is allowed.

Q. Does a music writing submission need to be about a piece of music that I’ve heard live?
A. No. While we prefer that you write about a live performance you experienced in Philadephia, perhaps you heard it broadcast on the radio or listened a CD of the performance.  Those experiences are eligible.

Q. Does the music category include pop music, jazz, hip hop, or is it strictly for classical music?
A. We welcome writing about all genres of music.

Q. For music writing, can I submit an MP3 or wav of me performing a song I wrote?
A. Because this is a writing contest, focused on writing about events/exhibits/performances, we don’t allow music performance submissions via MP3 or wav files. We will consider such submissions for next year’s contest, and if we go forward with MP3 submissions of original music, we will have particular criteria for those submissions.

Q. Can I submit the lyrics of the song and the sheet music, instead of the MP3?
A. Provided your song is not published and available online already, we will allow submissions of original song lyrics, typed or hand-written written (and an image of the sheet music if you wish).

Q. Is there a word limit or preferred word count range?
A. Yes, the word limit is 1,000 words. Please make sure you count your words and edit down to 1,000 if your piece is over the limit. There is no preferred word count range.

Q. What do you mean by Philadelphia…the city? the county? the region?
A. By Philadelphia we mainly mean the City of Philadelphia, however, we would accept writing about an experience in art or music in the 5-county Philadelphia region (counties: Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester).

Q. How many entries are allowed per writer?
A. We have a two article per person limit to submissions, so 2 is the most you can submit.

Q. Do shows have to be current or upcoming? Do essays have to be current? From the past year? How old can they be?
A. It is hoped that the articles submitted deal with art in Philadelphia in the year of the contest or the previous year. But we would not disqualify an article that dealt with Philadelphia art from a few years ago.

Do I need to reside in the 5-country Philadelphia region in order to be eligible to submit?
No, if you travel to Philadelphia and see an exhibit or experience a performance, we would welcome an entry from you.

I’m coming for the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference in May, 2020. Will I be able to submit my article in September even though the show was in May?
Yes. Writings that were sparked by art you saw or experienced in Philadelphia during SNAG will be considered in the art category. This includes exhibitions about jewelry.