Calling All Young Artists
The theme for this year’s contest is “Community”. We look forward to seeing what community looks like through the eyes of school-aged children. This will be their opportunity to tell a story about community as abstractly or literally as they would like.
The contest is open to autistic children and their siblings, relatives, and friends. We will announce winners at the beginning of Autism Acceptance Month in April and subsequently feature the art on our website, social media, and donation tribute cards.
8 years old & under
9 – 13 years old
14 years old & older
Autistic Siblings, Relatives, and Friends:
10 years old & under
11 – 18 years old
Art Contest Winners
Grand Prize Winner: Indiana C. – Pembroke Pines, FL
Autistic Youth Age 14 & Over
Artist’s Description: This is acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10. Painting beautiful landscapes that people notice makes me feel connected to my community. I am nonverbal and soak through my art!
Autistic Youth Age 8 and Under Winner: Noah M. – La Verne, CA
Artist’s Description: Everybody in the community is joining hands even if they are different.
Autistic Youth Age 9 – 13 Winner: Braydon S. – Safety Harbor, FL
The Grand Community
Artist’s Description: The friends come together with a new friend who comes from a very strange world beyond their world. They come together to have fun and stick together. It’s about welcoming people who are different from us.
Autistic Youth Age 14+ Winner: Melody M. – Indianapolis, IN
You Are Not Alone
Artist’s Description: I was diagnosed with autism last summer, and my journey towards that was led in part by the online communities I found. Seeing so many people who had similar experiences to mine really helped me feel less alone, and while in-person communities are very important, we shouldn’t forget that we live in a time where we can connect with so many more people than ever before. For me, community is — in part — the unique people and experiences you can connect with online.
Autism Ally Age 10 and Under Winner: Adhvay R. – Windsor, ON
Adventures with My Brother
Artist’s Description: We get to see lots of airplanes where we live and my brother likes to spot the and jump excitedly. Earlier, he used to be non-verbal and when he said “fly” we understood he meant planes fly. We went on a long flight to India and even though we were nervous about traveling because of his sensory issues, he was amazing and the people around were helpful. I look forward to more adventures with him and being able to take part in lot more community events around the city.
Autism Ally Age 11-18 Winner: Tanuj S. – Assam, India
Community and Autism: We are United!
Artist’s Description: I have created this artwork in alignment with the topic i.e. ‘community’ . In this artwork I’ve shown how the community in which live in can develop as an effective support system for an individual ( helping hands : centre of the artwork) . A community is basically a heterogeneous institution with the presence of diversity in terms of age structure, descent and race of the people , caste among other aspects which I believe has been beautifully portrayed in my artwork. The various types of occupation people practise in my community has been displayed in my artwork ( most of the people here are engaged in farm activities and other allied activities : pottery, horticulture, floriculture etc). The community we live in acts as a support system for us and especially for the specially gifted individuals having a supporting community is a boon the essence of which has been captured in my artwork symbolized by the girl on a wheel chair ( at the very top of the artwork). The multicolored jigsaw ribbon symbolizing autism has been used in my artwork to highlight the importance of community support to individuals suffering from this disorder. They are gifted individuals and unlike the general societal stereotype can compete with abled people on equal terms and in certain cases might even outperform them. I have seen individuals suffering from autism holding very portfolios in different fields ( be it medical science or art and culture ). I have friends suffering from this disorder who are extremely bright and have great analytical ability and creative brilliance. Having a community which supports them is a blessing and is the need of the hour . It is extremely essential that our society becomes more open to individuals who are suffering from Autism and help them achieve their full potential which would bring about their holistic development.
Grand Prize Winner: Gabrielle D. – Fair Oaks, CA
Celebrating A Time For Change
Artist’s Description: When I thought about the theme ‘Celebration’, what came to mind was how Mother Nature celebrates the seasons, in particular spring and summer. The seed holds all the potential for the plant and the blossom brings joy and happiness. This is how I feel about me, I have disabilities (autism, seizures, and learning struggles) AND I have potential to grow and blossom just like a flower – potential for growth and blossoming, and I bring joy and beauty into the world.
Autistic Youth Age 8 and Under Winner: Jenny B. – Troutville, VA.
Artist’s Description: The flower is blowing whoosh whoosh
Autistic Youth Age 9 – 13 Winner: Braydon S. – Safety Harbor, FL
Happy New Year
Artist’s Description: This is about having fun with friends and family and everyone. Celebrating time together.
Autistic Youth Age 14+ Winner: Varun V. – Bolingbrook, IL
Artist’s Description: Celebrating my 17 birthday with friends and family. Having a blast after 2 years of the pandemic. Finally able to celebrate birthdays with family and friends.
Autism Ally Age 10 and Under Winner: Lexi M. – Alliance, OH
Artist’s Description: A dog celebrating.
Autism Ally Age 11-18 Winner: Nadia F. – South Chicago Heights, IL
Together We Will Touch The Sky
Artist’s Description: The story behind this artwork, together we will reach and touch the sky no matter what challenges we face. We will be with you every step of the way.
Grand Prize Winner: Sean R. – Fair Oaks, CA
Me and My Very Best Friend Sterling
Artist’s Description: This painting is based on a photo taken of me and my best friend Sterling. He is a blue Doberman and enjoys our daily walks by the river. He is gentle, kind, and loving in every way. I thought that this painting captures the theme of friendship as Sterling is loyal and always by my side. He is one of my best friends.
Autistic Youth Age 8 and Under Winner: Will D. – Folsom, CA.
Artist’s Description: The boy is holding a purple bird and a squirrel.
Autistic Youth Age 9 – 13 Winner: Achille M. – Bellevue, WA
Friends Help Each Other
Artist’s Description: The artist’s only real friends (out of sister and parents) are characters in movies. When asked to draw friends and friendship, the artist drew Leon the Lion who helps his other friends to cross a difficult part of their path. He is carrying them on his shoulders and jumping using some swings until it is safe.
Autistic Youth Age 14+ Winner: Aidan L. – Sugar Land, TX
We Are All Unique as Stars
Artist’s Description: My teacher asked me to share my idea on friends. We all are as unique as stars and friendship makes the night sky brighter.
Autism Ally Age 8 and Under Winner: Sage L. – Colorado Springs, CO
Artist’s Description: It’s two peacocks meeting for the first time. They become best friends and then they sit down and they lounge together.
Autism Ally Age 9-13 Winner: Melody M. – Indianapolis, IN
A String of Friendship
Artist’s Description: In my opinion, friendship is a special bond between people, like a string connecting them. It’s golden, to symbolize how friendship is sturdy and will last through many years. It relates to autism because it’s important to show autistic people you’ll always be there for them, even when things get difficult. I make sure my “strings” connecting me with my autistic family and friends are extra strong to show I love them.
Autism Ally Age 14+ Winner: Brooke T. – Pismo Beach, CA
Two Ideas in One
Artist’s Description: While I painted this piece I had the constant input and chattering of my son who is autistic. His sister had opinions too and I did my best to meet what each of them deemed represented friendship best. Just as they are friends!
2023 Art Contest Judges
Sydney Cook is an autistic artist and disability advocate from San Diego, California. Her primary art medium is digital drawing and composition. Her work has been featured in product designs by Linc-d and Lippy Lu. When she’s not creating art, Sydney can be found volunteering for disability advocacy organizations or working her “day job” at a dog daycare and boarding facility. (Best day job ever!)
Tom is a British autistic artist working mainly in acrylic paints as they allow him to recreate something of the vividness with which he perceives the world. He was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Show in 2022 and is looking forward to a joint exhibition at Asylum Studios, Bentwaters in May 2023. You can find products featuring Tom’s art on Linc-d, Lippy Lu, and Art Rabble.
Kenny Davis is an autistic artist. He has a hard time saying how and what he feels, so Kenny found a way to express it through art. Kenny likes creating one-of-a-kind pieces that people can hang in their homes and loves painting with kids too! You can find products featuring Kenny’s art on Linc-d and Lippy Lu.
Wiley Johnson is a 38-year-old self-taught artist from Raleigh, NC, who has autism spectrum disorder. He began painting acrylic on canvas, abstract style as a hobby in 2009 because it made him happy and gave him something to do when he was alone. 2020 was a year of transformation for Wiley, with acceptance into more juried group gallery shows. He’s gone on to have featured and solo exhibitions. You can find Wiley’s art prints, originals, or products featuring his work on ArtLifting, Linc-d, and Lippy Lu.
D.J. Svoboda, born in 1983, was diagnosed at the age of 3 with Autism Spectrum Disorder with psychomotor retardation, which included speech delays and issues with his fine motor skills. He found it difficult to even hold a pencil. Today, D.J. is a dynamic, motivational public speaker, an accomplished artist, and an author with three books to his credit; My Imagiville, The Mupperezmo and the Rainbow, and The Inspirations of Imagiville. You can find products featuring D.J.’s art on Linc-d and Lippy Lu.
Would you like to be a future Youth Art Contest judge?
Art Contest Updates
The 2023 Youth Art Contest is now closed.
Thank you to everybody who submitted an entry to the Organization for Autism Research’s 2023 Youth Art Contest! The art contest winning entries will be announced in early April. If you would like to be notified about the 2023 winners or 2024 Youth Art Contest announcements, fill out the form below.