Arts Journalism Challenge FAQ’s

Is there an entry fee?
There is no fee to enter the competition.

May I enter more than once?
No. Only one submission per entrant will be considered.

Why should I participate?
Arts journalism is a highly competitive field, and the structure of media business is changing. Opportunities for talented writers to be recognized through early publication are influential in future career successes. The competition offers the opportunity to distinguish yourself as an exceptional young writer, to be published, and to win a cash prize. All finalists receive feedback from a member of the final’s selection panel, and two finalists will be offered internships with the magazine.

What is the submission deadline?
The submission period occurs in the fall each year. Check this page for details of upcoming or current deadlines.

How do I enter the competition?
To enter the competition email a .pdf, .doc, or .docx copy of your entry to

What kind of piece can I submit? Can I submit something I wrote for a class?
While the majority of arts journalism falls in the category of criticism – including description and analysis of an arts experience or arts experiences –the Judges are happy to consider all types of arts writing, including: criticism, opinion, editorial, and history. Any piece of arts journalism created for any reason may be submitted for this competition.

What is acceptable to write about? Does it have to have happened or can I make it up?
Any performance, gallery show, exhibit, or other artistic product, in any location, may be the focus of your article. Artwork or performances covered must be verifiable (i.e. you can’t write about a made up person, performance, album, artwork, exhibit or event. This is arts journalism, not creative writing.)

Who will judge submissions?
The first round of judging will be completed by the Bourgeon editorial board staff, and will result in the selection of three finalists. The second round of judging – to pick the winner – will be done by a panel of professional arts journalists. The jury has included: Philip Kennicott (Washington Post), Michael O’Sullivan (Washington Post), Anne Midgette (Washington Post), Leonard Jacobs (Clyde Fitch Report), Robert Bettmann (Bourgeon), and Lewis Segal (Los Angeles Times.)

What are the criteria that will be used to judge the competition? What are the judges looking for?
Judges will be looking for arts journalism that comments astutely on the arts, but that is also accessible and meaningful for the general public. Judges will consider the clarity, artistry, technique, and overall impact of your work.

Why is Bourgeon running this competition?
The project has ambitious goals, including raising awareness of arts journalism and the history of the field, encouraging quality arts journalism, stimulating increased university and local arts interaction, and supporting emerging arts journalists. Washington Post visual arts critic Michael O’Sullivan states, “At a time when the future of arts journalism—indeed, the future of journalism itself—is at stake, Bourgeon’s Student Arts Journalism Challenge offers encouragement to the next generation of arts journalists, along with a reminder that the arts, and those who write about them, still matter.”