Young artists in Sacramento invited to fight climate change with their creativity

Young artists with a passion for fighting climate change can win cash prizes of up to $500 through the new Carbon Zero Art Contest.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s office is working in partnership with the City’s Office of Climate Action and Sustainability and SMUD to sponsor and run the contest, which is open to artists and creators ages 14 to 24.

Entries can promote sustainability, demonstrate the need to reach carbon neutrality (known as carbon zero) or help others understand the urgency of fighting climate change.

Contestants will be divided into three age brackets ranging from 14-15, 16-18, and 19-24 years old. One contestant in each bracket can win up to $500 dollars for first place. There will also be two $100 second-place prizes, and six honorable mentions worth $50 each.

Winners will be selected by a panel of judges that will include a representative from The Office of Climate Action and Sustainability, SMUD, the City of Sacramento Youth Commission, and a local artist.

Judging will take place after Feb. 24 and will be based on the following criteria: relevance to the topic, aesthetic appeal, and overall creativity. In March, winners will be notified by email and the contest will culminate with an online gallery featuring artist’s submissions and the winners in each age category.

“Climate change is the existential crisis of our time,” said Mayor Steinberg. “The Carbon Zero Art contest is an opportunity for Sacramento youth to let their imagination show us adults how we can embrace solutions to climate change and crystalize why we are fighting for a more sustainable future.”

The City of Sacramento has used art contests in the past to help build awareness. The Carbon Zero Art Contest is modeled after Youth Parks and Community Enrichments Youth’s (YPCE) Art Expo and Photo Contest, which encouraged local youth artists to share photos and art related to Sacramento parks, trails, or recreation programs.

“This is an important opportunity to really elevate our youth perspective as we imagine and work towards a more vibrant and livable future,” said Jennifer Venema, the City of Sacramento’s climate action lead.

Young people interested in participating can learn more about the contest and submit an entry on the City’s website.

Submissions will be accepted through Feb. 24. The culminating gallery will be hosted at Answers to frequently asked questions can be found here, and all other questions should be sent to

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