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Art gallery: Award-winning student artwork inspired by the ocean

NOAA and our partners offer several art contests and campaigns that engage creative minds in Earth science. In honor of Youth Art Month in March, this gallery showcases ocean priorities, marine species, and conservation issues through the eyes of student artists.

Feeling inspired? Consider submitting your own creations and check out our other at-home art activities.

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UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development: #DrawYourDecade 

What do you want the ocean to look like in ten years? The #DrawYourDecade social media campaign invites youth around the world to explore this question while engaging in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Developmentoffsite link (2021-2030). This campaign aims to draw out young people’s collective priorities for the next ten years of the ocean to incorporate into the implementation of the UN Ocean Decade. In May 2020, the National Ocean Sciences Bowloffsite link offered a #DrawYourDecade competitionoffsite link, and early-career ocean professionals from NOAA and other organizations selected these top three winners.

Although the National Ocean Sciences Bowl’s competition has closed, young people everywhere are invited to share their vision for advancing the goals of the Ocean Decadeoffsite link by posting their artwork with the hashtag, #DrawYourDecade.

Illustration of a sea turtle underwater. In the background, the ocean shows signs of environmental degradation including plastic debris, a seabird caught in a fishing net, and a whale skeleton. The dome of the turtle's shell contains a scene of a thriving coral reef that glows bright against the otherwise dark illustration.
National Ocean Sciences Bowl #DrawYourDecade competition, first place: Lexington High School. (Lexington High School/National Ocean Sciences Bowl)
Illustration shows a cartoon silhouette of a person saluting and looking ready for action is filled with colorful photos of ocean data, technology, recreation, and science as well as the United Nations and NOAA logos. The background contains black-and-white photos of ocean activities, including ocean pollution and degradation.
National Ocean Sciences Bowl #DrawYourDecade competition, second place: Joy A., Burlington Township High School. (Joy A./National Ocean Sciences Bowl)
Youth artwork shows a stylized silhouette of a hammerhead shark that is filled with marine debris, including a razor, cotton swap, plastic bag, toothbrush, straw, water bottle, and rope. It is set on a background of tropical leaves.
National Ocean Sciences Bowl #DrawYourDecade competition, third place: Isabella R., York High School. (Isabella R./National Ocean Sciences Bowl)

Marine Endangered Species Art Contest

NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region encourages artists in kindergarten through grade 12 to celebrate marine endangered species. While the contest focuses on species native to New England and the Mid-Atlantic, students anywhere are welcome to participate. Winning artwork goes on display on the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office’s website and Facebook page and is featured in an online calendar. Submissions for 2021 are due by email to edith.carson-supino@noaa.gov on Friday, April 23, 2021.

Child’s artwork depicting a watercolor sea turtle swimming in the ocean.
"Friendly Seas" by Sofia B., grade 2. 2020 Annual Marine Endangered Species Art Contest winner. 
Child’s artwork depicting Oceanic whitetip sharks swimming along a sandy ocean floor. Smaller fish surround the school of sharks.
"Oceanic Whitetip Shark" by Sewon C., grade 3. 2020 Annual Marine Endangered Species Art Contest winner.
Child’s sculptured sea turtles caught in a net on a sandy beach.
"Endangered Turtles" by Kinley R., grade 5. 2020 Annual Marine Endangered Species Art Contest winner.
Child’s artwork depicting a sea turtle swimming about underwater grasses in the ocean.
"Survivor" by Sofia F., grade 7. 2020 Annual Marine Endangered Species Art Contest winner.
Child’s sculpture depicting a sperm whale that is made out of plastic grocery bags.
"Wrapped Up Sperm Whale" by Glory C., grade 9. 2020 Annual Marine Endangered Species Art Contest winner.

Keep the Sea Free of Debris

The NOAA Marine Debris Program holds this annual art contest to reach kindergarten through eighth grade students and help raise awareness about marine debris. The winning submissions are featured in a calendar to remind us all that we can be responsible stewards of the ocean every day. The winners of the 2022 calendar will be announced in the spring, and the Marine Debris Art Contest will re-open in fall 2021. 

Text: Help our sea creatures! Image: Child’s artwork depicting an octopus, seahorse, and other marine creatures in the ocean. The octopus has a balloon wrapped around one of it's arms and the balloon reads, "Help me!" There is other marine debris, like plastic bottles and straws, floating around the animals.
Clayton K., grade 1. 2020 NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest winner.
Child’s artwork depicting an underwater scene featuring jellyfish, coral, fish, a sea turtle, and an octopus. It reads, “Marine debris is BAD.” The word “BAD” is written in large block letters, and inside the letters are illustrations of litter, including cups, broken bottles, plastic bags, plastic cutlery, cans, an apple core, and a knife.
Selina S., grade 3. 2020 NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest winner.
Text: Keep it green and keep it clean. Image: Child’s artwork depicting a fish stuck in a bottle that rests on the sandy ocean floor.
Francisco V., grade 5. 2020 NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest winner.
Text: Do you see the difference between plastic bags and jellyfish? Turtles don't! Image: Child’s artwork depicting a sea turtle in the ocean that is surrounded by jellyfish and plastic bags. The turtle is coughing up a plastic bag because it mistook the marine debris as a jellyfish.
Ceirra C., grade 7. 2020 NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest winner.
Child’s artwork depicting two dolphins surfacing with a sunset in the background. The ocean waves read the repetitive word "plastic" and the rays from the sun read "pollution." The dolphins have marine debris inside their bodies, such as plastic, straws, and other items.
Kate D., grade 8. 2020 NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest winner.

 

K-12 Marine Art Contest focusing on sanctuary biodiversity

The 2021 Marine Art Contest, co-sponsored by Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Massachusetts Marine Educatorsoffsite link, is now underway. The deadline for online entries is May 7, 2021. With submission topics ranging from tiny plankton to giant whales, students from anywhere in the world are invited to submit artwork that explores the biodiversity of Stellwagen Bank sanctuary. “By learning to appreciate these creatures, we hope it instills a sense of stewardship for the national marine sanctuary and the ocean in general," said Anne Smrcina, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary education coordinator and marine art contest director. Winning art is posted on the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary website and co-sponsors provide a variety of prizes. See the contest brochure for rules and an entry form or write to stellwagen@noaa.gov for more information.

Watercolor illustration of a sea angel (a type of swimming sea slug) and a sea butterfly (a type of swimming sea snail).
"Sea Angel and Sea Butterfly" by Kenzie M., grade 4. 2020 Marine Art Contest winner.
Highly detailed watercolor illustration of a basket star.
"Basket Star" by Jasmine W., grade 6. 2020 Marine Art Contest winner.
Painting of a krill outlined in white against a dark background. The faint silhouette of a baleen whale opening its mouth emerges from the background.
"Krill and Whale" by Queena W., grade 11. 2020 Marine Art Contest winner. 
Digital illustration of a snorkeler observing an ocean sunfish underwater.
"Ocean Sunfish with Diver" by Sophia S., grade 8. 2020 Marine Art Contest winner. 

 

March 17, 2021