Wave of Expression: Clean Water Art & Storytelling Competition

A Chicago Young Professional Council Initiative

May 30, 2019

Water is a vital part of our communities, as is art and storytelling. The Alliance for the Great Lakes Young Professional Council invites qualifying candidates to participate in its first-ever Arts & Storytelling Competition.

About the Competition

Creative works will be accepted from June 1st to August 2nd, 2019. 

This competition is being held in partnership with Urban League of Metropolitan Chicago Metroboard and Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab.

Thematic Requirements

Each submission will be judged based on its ability to thoughtfully address the theme Water & Community in Chicago. Entrants must respond to one of two prompts:

  1. This July marks the centennial of the Race Riots that broke out after the murder of Eugene Williams, a 17-year-old African American youth who accidentally drifted into an informally segregated “whites-only” swimming area at 29th St. Beach. Racial segregation and oppression ultimately erupted into violence, leaving 38 Chicagoans dead and over 500 injured. Explore the connection between water and race in Chicago, both past and present.
  2. Many Americans take for granted that they will have access to safe, clean drinking water. But recent events have challenged this notion. Consider the theme of access to safe drinking water as it relates to both your community and the greater Chicago community. Artists might explore barriers to the human right to water, contamination, rising cost of water, or use and enjoyment of the lakefront.


We will accept submissions from individuals, pairs, or groups from the age groups below. At least one artist per submission must be a resident of Chicago.

  1. Future Environmentalists: All artists are 14 – 18 years old
  2. Millennial Leaders: All artists are 19 – 40 years old

Jurors will evaluate all submissions and choose one winner from each age category. Winners will receive a $600 prize.

Qualifying Media for Artwork

  1. Video – Must be under five minutes
  2. Dance – Submit video of dance, must be under five minutes
  3. Song – Must submit video or recording of song, must be under five minutes
  4. Spoken Word – Submit video or recording of performance, under five minutes
  5. Short Story, Essay, or Poem – Submit electronically, under 500 words
  6. Visual Art (Photograph, Painting, Drawing, etc.) – Submit picture of work

How to Enter the Competition

Fill out all of the information in this submission form. Each artist may submit only one work of art, either individually, in pairs, or in groups. All work must be original. All videos should be uploaded to YouTube with links included. Audio files, pictures, and documents can be included as attachments in the form.


  • Alliance for the Great Lakes Young Professional Council
  • Urban League of Metropolitan Chicago Metroboard
  • Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab

A showcase of submitted artwork will be held on September 12th at South Side Community Arts Center at 3831 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL. Details to follow.