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High School Competitions

Jazz Band, ISYM 2015

Put your talents to the test for the 2016–17 Discover FAA High School Competitions! 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 scholarship for either one of our college degree programs or a 2017 summer program. Through these competitions, we hope to encourage a future generation of creative thinkers and emphasize the importance of the arts in society.

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Get inspiration from the previous winning entries.

Competition Briefs for 2016–17

Architectural Drawing

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.

Urban Green Space

Create a drawing that depicts a green space in an urban setting. This can be an actual space or an imaginary space. Although hand drawing is strongly encouraged, original computer-generated work will be accepted. You are encouraged to draw from life, but creative liberty is desirable as well. Using a variety of media is also suggested.


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

Costume Design

Hello, costumers! Submit one costume design for a particular character that appears in one scene or act from a play of your choice. Each entry may consist of up to four renderings accompanied by a brief outline of how this design came to be. This outline should reveal your thought process for your design.

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.

Step 1: Register early. Registrations are now being accepted on a rolling basis starting until 24 hours prior to each entry deadline. Once you register, entry directions will be provided.

Step 2: Connect to the FAA Facebook page for ongoing updates and inspiration.

Step 3: The competition for seniors has ended.
Freshman, sophomore, and junior entrants must upload entries by Friday, April 7, 2017.

Step 4: See the senior winners.
Freshman, sophomore, and junior winners will be announced by Friday, April 14, 2017.


The winning senior for each competition will receive $1,000 to be applied toward their first-year college expenses. The student must enroll in a program within the College of Fine and Applied Arts to receive the award and must meet all requirements for entry to the University of Illinois and the intended FAA program.

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, Illinois Summer Youth Music, and iSTEAM.

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