Know Your Power

Know Your Power

A civic engagement arts contest for teens

Know our Power - A Civid Engagement Art Contest for D.C. Teens, 13 - 19. A joint partnership of DC Public Library, Pepco, An Exelon Company and the DC Public Library Foundation

Contest Overview | Prizes | Winner Notification | Submit Your Entry
Contest Rules | Creative Workshops | Library Resources

Contest Overview

Art is a powerful tool to share social messages and inspire change. Visual artists like Shepard Fairey, musicians like Beyonce and authors like Mira Jacob have used their creative voices to speak truth to power and raise awareness of the important issues facing us today. Pepco, the DC Public Library Foundation and DC Public Library invite you to find your power and use it to creatively address a topic that is important to you. What change would you like to see in the world? We are calling on youth between the ages of 13 - 19 to use their creative voice to make a difference. 

Between May 25 and Aug. 10, submit an original work of writing, photography, illustration, or music that expresses your feelings on a social issue that matters to you.  We’re looking for pieces that are not only well-crafted but have a strong voice and perspective on a subject pertaining to civic engagement. View the winners of the first annual Know Your Power Teen Art Contest.

Four winners will be selected in the categories of Illustration, Writing, Music, and Photography. Entries will be judged by representatives from Pepco.

What Can I Win?

  • Prize for Writing: Laptop
  • Prize for Photography: Canon EOS 4000D
  • Prize for Illustration: Wacom CTL4100 Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet
  • Prize for Music: Fender Electric Guitar

All winners will have their work published on the library's website.

When Will Winners Be Notified?

All who submit to the contest are invited to a showcase event on Saturday, Sept. 25 to show off their work and meet other teens who create. Winners will be announced at the event. (If your work is selected and you are unable to attend the showcase, you will be notified and arrangements will be made for you to receive your prizes.) More details will be made available closer to the date of the Showcase.

Submit Your Entry

Submissions will open on May 25. 

What Are the Rules?

  1. This contest is open to participants between the ages of 13 and 19.
  2. You can submit to multiple categories, but only one entry in each category per participant. You can also only possibly win in one category.
  3. Writing can be up to 1,500 words long and be in the format of a poem or short story.
  4. Photography entries may include 1 - 10 photos that make up a photo story. Photographs cannot be of copyrighted images. 
  5. Music should be submitted as an .mp3 and be 1 - 3 minutes in length.
  6. Your submission must be original work. ​​​​​

Attend Creative Workshops

Writopia Lab 
Writopia Lab Logo

Tuesday, May 25, 4 p.m. | Teen Open Mic: Know Your Power Kickoff with Writopia 
Tuesday, June 8, 4:30 p.m. | Writopia Lab: Creative Writing For Teens
Tuesday, July 13, 4:30 p.m. | Writopia Lab: Creative Writing For Teens
Tuesday, July 27, 4 p.m. | Keep Knowing Your Power: Teen Open Mic with Writopia
Tuesday, Aug. 10, 4:30 p.m. | Writopia Lab: Creative Writing For Teens 

Words, Beats & Life
Words Beats & Life Inc. LogoThursday, June 3, 5 p.m. | Counting Bars: Making Rap Music Pt. 1 with Words, Beats & Life
Thursday, June 10, 5 p.m. | Counting Bars: Making Rap Music Pt. 2 with Words, Beats, & Life
Thursday, June 17, 5 p.m. | Searching for the Perfect Beat: Trap Beat Production Pt. 1 with Words, Beats & Life
Thursday, June 24, 5 p.m. | Searching for the Perfect Beat: Trap Beat Production Pt. 2 with Words, Beats & Life
Thursday, July 1, 5 p.m. | Poetry Writing with Words, Beats, and Life Pt. 1
Thursday, July 8, 5 p.m. | Poetry Writing with Words, Beats, and Life Pt. 2
Thursday, July 15, 5 p.m. | Fine Art Pt. 1 with Words, Beats & Life
Thursday, July 22, 5 p.m. | Fine Art Pt. 2 with Words, Beats, & Life
Thursday, July 29, 5 p.m. | Street Art with Words, Beats, & Life
Thursday, Aug. 5, 5 p.m. | Photography Workshop with Words, Beats, & Life

Politics & Prose LIVE!
Politics and Prose LiveTuesday, June 29, 4 p.m. | Concrete Cowboy with G. Neri and Jesse Joshua Watson
Tuesday, July 8, 4 p.m. | Shock Waves with Justin A. Reynolds and Pablo Leon




 

Find Inspiration with Your Library Card

Not sure where to start? Check out these amazing resources that you can access with your Library card. These will both inspire and inform your work. Also be sure to follow @dclibraryteens and #knowyourpower on Instagram for prompts and challenges throughout the summer.

Books About Gun Violence

Books on Immigration

Books About LGBTQAI+ Issues


Books About Mental Health

Books About Race and Equity

Books About Religious Freedom

Books About Voting Rights