Inspired By Audubon

John James Audubon was a key figure in both ornithology and American art whose innovative combination of artistic renderings and scientific observations provide abundant opportunities to inspire your students.

The IMA invites preschool through 12th grade teachers to share their students’ responses to the work of John James Audubon, which will be featured at the IMA in the upcoming exhibition Audubon: Drawn to Nature. The featured exhibition will be open from April 1, 2017-July 30, 2017.

As part of the Audubon: Drawn to Nature exhibition, student artwork will be on display in the featured gallery.

Call for Entries

John James Audubon (American, 1785–1851), Robert Havell (English, 1793–1878) (engraver), Great Horned Owl, 1827–1838, hand-colored engraving, 38-1/8 × 25-1/2 in. (plate). Image courtesy Joel Oppenheimer, Inc.


The IMA seeks student work that is inspired by the work of John James Audubon. Student work will be divided into four age categories: preschool-2nd grade, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade. Selected artwork will be on display at the IMA from April 1, 2017-July 30, 2017.


February 24, 2017


Open to all students in Indiana, Preschool-12th grade.


  • A panel of judges will select 3 winners (1st place, 2nd place, and one honorable mention) per age group to be on display in the featured gallery at the IMA.
  • Winning artists receive an award and 4 gift tickets to attend the Audubon: Drawn to Nature exhibition at their convenience anytime during the public hours of the exhibition. IMA will mail the awards to the teachers of selected artists for dissemination.


Participating teachers must submit work to the IMA as outlined below. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact

To Participate: Teachers develop their own Audubon focused lessons for the specific curricular needs in their classroom(s). Teachers may choose other Audubon works that fit into their specific school curriculum. Suggested areas of focus include, but are not limited to:

  • Artistic and historic merit of his work
  • Evolution from static and posed renderings to dynamic compositions
  • High level of detail and rich textures
  • Field observations and sketches
  • Use of wiring
  • Copper plate etching
  • Different species of birds
  • Physical traits, behavior, and habitats
  • Observations and writings
  • Visual and written work represent an important scientific contribution to ornithology
  • Detailed descriptions of birds’ anatomy, behaviors, and habitats
  • Discovery of 23 new species
  • Documentation of species that are now rare or extinct
  • First bird-banding experiment
  • Appreciation for the preservation of nature

Student artists create original and individual (no group entries) works of art that respond to Audubon’s artwork. Teachers select four works per age group to submit.

Required Dimensions: Please use 11"x 14" Bristol board or similar acid free paper, VERTICALLY oriented (as most of Audubon’s works are oriented). DO NOT add any frame.

Accepted Mediums: Only 2-D work will be accepted for display in the featured gallery. Please use standard 2-D mediums such as paint, paper, gouache, ink, charcoal, marker, pencil, and digital media.

Quantity: Please limit submission to four [4] works per age group, per school. For example, an elementary art teacher might have entries in two different categories from two different schools. He/she could submit four works for each age group for each school.

Submission Process: All entries will be submitted digitally. The original 11”x 14” student works must be photographed or scanned and the photographs or scans of the original student artworks will be submitted as slides in a Power Point file to the following email address:

Submission Powerpoint

The first slide of the Submissions Power Point should include the teacher name, email address, school address, and phone number. Each student work should be submitted as a slide. In the notes section for each slide include the student's grade, student's name, title of the artwork, and artist's statement (not to exceed 35 words).

Along with the Power Point file, teachers should attach a signed Teacher’s Consent Form to their submission email. Please use the Teacher’s Consent Form..

If Selected: Teachers of the selected winners (3 in each age category) will be responsible for bringing the original 11”x 14” works to the IMA along with parent consent forms no later than March 10, 2017. If a selected original work is not submitted by that date, that student’s work will be dismissed from the competition and an alternate will be selected to fill its place. If your school will be on break, please provide an email address and phone number where you can be reached during that time.

Labels for Artwork: IMA staff will create labels for all of the selected works. Please ensure you submit artwork titles and student artist statements with each artwork. These play a big role in the jurying process.

Delivery Method: All submissions must be digitally emailed to Instructions for bringing the original works to the IMA for installation will be emailed to the teachers of selected winners.

Questions? Contact IMA Academic Engagement scholar Bethany Hrachovec at