Mountain Ridge HS (AZ) Art Contest

Jessica Mayorga
Jessica Mayorga

General scope of the activity: We held our first annual Mental Health Arts Contest! It was open to students across the school to submit any form of art, including written submissions, visual arts and performing arts. We had 10 submissions!

Overview of school: We are a public high school from Glendale, Arizona. This is our first year, and we are the only high school chapter in AZ (so far!). Our school has around 2,100 students, and our chapter has a consistent 30-40 members at each meeting!

Budget: We budgeted around $100 for this event, which we were able to put on thanks to a generous grant by Active Minds! We only ended up spending $50 for prizes, and used the remainder to fund our distressing care packages, which we gave out for free during finals week.

Summary: After heavily advertising our arts contest, we had many submissions with narrative writing, poetry and visual arts using many different mediums (electronic, chalk, colored pencil, collage, paint etc). We are really grateful for our school newspaper, The Ridge Review, which helped us spread the word about our new chapter, and this event! Our biggest focus was advertising to students outside the chapter as well as inside the chapter to gain exposure for our club and to solicit more submissions. The judges included both officers and teachers, all of whom were blown away by the quality of submissions we received. Overall, the event was a huge success!

Tips for people/groups who want to do the activity: 

  • Partner with another organization! This helped us gain exposure.
  • Have prizes available far in advance (so you can advertise them and thus get more submissions!)
  • Reach out to art teachers/professors and ask them to share with their students!
  • Advertise, advertise, advertise! We went on the school announcements, put up flyers and used social media to spread the word about the contest!

Other info: “The top three submissions, including prizes and quotes from each artist can be found at: . To respect the artists and their hard work, we ask that if the images are posted, the artwork be attributed to them by name. Thanks!”

When we talk about breaking the silence surrounding mental health, it doesn’t just have to be through spoken or written words. Art has always been a powerful tool for advocacy, especially when it comes to mental health. It can help students find their voice about mental health when words are hard to come by, and can also provide a creative outlet to illustrate real issues that students face every day. The Active Minds chapter at Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona recently provided their students that opportunity by holding their first-ever Mental Health Arts Contest. This is the first year for Mountain Ridge’s chapter, and they’ve been very successful so far, getting between 30 to 40 members at each of their meetings. 

Holding this event helped them get even more exposure to the student body of over 2,000.