Adjudication & Awards
What is adjudication? Adjudication is the act of judging submitted artwork. Please note that judging is conducted blindly by the digital system which only displays the image of the artwork, title, medium, and dimensions.
Jurors on both a regional and national level will look for works that exemplify the Alliance’s core criteria:
Originality: Reveals an original approach to process, concept, and subject matter and transcends the parameters of a “classroom assignment.”
Technical Skill: Exhibits mastery of a particular medium.
Emergence of a Personal Vision: Shows evidence of an individual’s artistic style and the visual expression of tone, form, critical thinking, and concept.
Click here for more information about the criteria. VMFA selects a panel of artists, art educators, and art professionals to digitally adjudicate the work.
Each category is judged in the following groupings: grades 7 – 8, grades 9 – 10, and grades 11 – 12.
The jurors refer to the following rubrics for each grade level/category:
Judging Rubric Grade Grouping I
Judging Rubric Grade Grouping II
Judging Rubric Grade Grouping III
Judging Rubric for Art and Photography Portfolios
Regional: Outstanding teacher participation in the program is recognized at the regional level during the recognition ceremony. Teachers will receive a gift card to the VMFA Shop.
National: Teachers of National Award winners receive recognition for their hard work at the National Awards Ceremony. Teachers can receive cash prizes and gift coupons to Blick Art Materials.
Student Regional Awards
Gold Key: The highest level of achievement on the regional level. Students are recognized during the Gold Key Ceremony and receive a Gold Key certificate and pin. The winning work is exhibited at VMFA and online. All Gold Key work is digitally adjudicated at the National level.
Gold Key Portfolio: For high school seniors only. Students are recognized during the Gold Key Ceremony and receive a Gold Key certificate and pin. A portion of the winning portfolio is exhibited at VMFA and online. The student’s artist statement is also featured in the Gold Key Ceremony program. All Gold Key portfolios are digitally adjudicated at the national level and are eligible for scholarships.
American Visions Nominees: Five works named “Best of Show” for each region. Artwork is exhibited at VMFA and online and is featured in the Gold Key Ceremony program. All works are nationally adjudicated and one of the five will be selected at the national level.
Silver Key: Works worthy of recognition on the regional level. Students are recognized during the Silver Key Ceremony and receive a Silver Key certificate and pin. Work is posted online.
Honorable Mention: Recognizes students with artistic potential. Students are mailed a certificate of recognition.
Student National Awards
Gold Medal: The most outstanding works in the nation. Students are invited to a National Awards Ceremony held in New York City, NY, and work is exhibited in the city.
Gold Medal Portfolio: Students are eligible to receive scholarships.
Silver Medal: Works demonstrating high honors on the national level.
American Visions & Voices Medal: Works selected from the American Visions & Voices nominees as the national "Best in Region."
For complete information about special award categories and sponsored awards, please visit the Alliance site.