Annual animal art contest for kids is much more than meets the eye

Artwork from one of the young winners.For a few months every year as part of our Animal Action Education program, the team here at the International Fund for Animal Welfare has the difficult – but heart-warming - task of choosing winners from the amazing original artwork submissions that come pouring in from students across the United States.

This year was no different: More than 1,000 students between five and 18 years of age sent in illustrations, paintings and other works celebrating animals – from elephants, tigers, and whales to cats, dogs and many more.

The students worked in a variety of media: Hannah, age 14, sent in colored-pencil sketch of an elephant mother and her calf. Hansen, age 6, crafted a tiger with color markers. Celeste, age 11, created kittens with pastels and Cynthia, age 16, painted a penguin in watercolor.

Winners receive a certificate and gifts from IFAW, plus selected works will be featured on a wall poster that will be distributed to classrooms nationwide next fall.

Children have a natural affinity for animals and art – both of which can help them develop fundamental skills, values and attitudes. Art helps to give children a voice, encourages open-minded thinking and builds a sense of connection with the natural world..

Education experts say the same things are true about curricula incorporating animals and concepts of humane and environmental education, like our Animal Action Education resources for teachers, which reached more than five million students, educators, and parents worldwide last year alone.

There’s actually much more to this contest than meets the eye.


Want some inspiration? View this year’s winners at the Animal Action Art Contest gallery.


Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project