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Art Contest: Montana Pre-1889
1st Place
2nd Place
3rd Place
4th Place


Welcome back to ATR’s 9th Annual Art Contest! For those of you who are new to our annual contest, ATR in Hamilton and Explore the ARTS host a rotating-themed art contest each year for high school students. Some art teachers blend this contest as an assignment into their curriculum, some even include the English Department to help students craft their artist statement, and some share the poster with their students as an optional extracurricular activity. Awards range from $100 to $500 in each category and are not tied to a scholarship - students can use these funds however they wish. Schools with the most top-3 winning entries also win for their art program: 1st place $500, 2nd $350, 3rd $150, 4th $100. We give away almost $5,000 each year in this contest.


Create a work depicting your vision of Montana from hundreds or millions of years ago.

  • This contest is for any student in any school in the Bitterroot Valley in grades 9-12.
  • Students may submit multiple entries in any category.
  • There is no size restriction to the artwork.
  • Framing the artwork is optional.
  • Submitted artwork must be original.
  • Students may 'co-create' artwork. If the artwork wins - they'll need to work out between themselves how to split the prize money.
  • If the entry is “mixed-media” choose the category closest to the entry (drawing, painting, or sculpture).
  • Each entry should have its own entry form. If a student enters two pieces, they will need to fill out two separate forms. You can find this form on the art contest flyer.
  • Each entry must have a typed Artist Statement. No hand-written statements or late entries accepted. The judges use the artist statements when critiquing the entries. It's best if the statement is about the actual art piece rather than about the student. No need to write an essay, just talk briefly about the piece - especially if you need to explain your interpretation of the theme.
  • Drop off or mail entries at ATR, 248 West Main Street, Hamilton MT 59840. Hours 8am-5pm M-F or contact to arrange drop off.
  • Awards will be announced on Friday, April 11th at 5pm in Hamilton at 248 W Main St.

Categories & Awards

Drawing (charcoal, ink, digital, pencil)
1st: $500, 2nd: $300, 3rd: $150, 4th: $100

Painting (acrylic, oil, watercolor)
1st: $500, 2nd: $300, 3rd: $150, 4th: $100

Sculpture (clay, stone, metal, ceramic)
1st: $500, 2nd: $300, 3rd: $150, 4th: $100

Best of Show: $150

President's Award: $200

Schools with the most Top-3 Winners
1st $500, 2nd $350, 3rd $250, 4th $100.

Total prizes awarded in this contest total $4,700!


Entries due by March 29, 2024. No late entries accepted.

Judging & Winner Ceremony

Local artists from Artists Along the Bitterroot judge this annual contest. Entries are judged equally in four areas: creativity, craftsmanship, composition, and interpretation of the theme. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday, April 11th, 2023.


For more information, contact Tamar Hafer at

Hand deliver or mail entries to:
ATR Inc.
248 W. Main Street
Hamilton, Montana 59840