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What Does it Mean to Express Yourself?

Paint, pencils, crayons and InDesign – use your favorite medium to design a book cover for the annual Express Yourself Youth Poetry Competition winners’ anthology.

Complete Rules for Entry

Artist Requirements: The Express Yourself Cover Art Contest is open to all artists in grade 2-12, who live in the City of Dallas or attend a school within Dallas city limits.

The Artwork Must Be Original: You must be the creator of the artwork that is submitted to the contest. Your art must be your own original concept and not a copy of anyone else's copyrighted material. If your image infringes upon another's copyright it will be disqualified.


Artist Requirements: 

  • Any drawing or painting medium, including: pencil, watercolors, crayons, and      acrylics can be used. Non-reflective sturdy paper such as watercolor paper or card stock is preferred. Artwork should be on vertical (portrait orientation). Maximum size 11in x17in
  • Any Graphic design software, including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, or open source product, can be used. Your images are best represented at 1200px on the longest side and at a resolution of 72dpi. The acceptable file formats are: jpg or pdf.
  • Artwork must be the artists own work and may not be submitted without artist’s      consent.


Multiple Submissions: Only one submission per artist.

Submission Deadline: Submissions accepted starting September 21, 2020. Artwork must be received or postmarked by January 31, 2021.


Entry Process: 

Art may also be submitted in person at any Dallas Public Library Location.


Submit by mail to:

Express Yourself! 

J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 

1515 Young St., Dallas, TX 75201-5499

Submit online at: www.dallaslibrary.org/poetry


Judging Criteria:

  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Quality
  • All qualified art will be judged separately in the in the following grade categories: 2-5, 6-8, 9-12.



  • All finalists will be notified by email by April 1, 2021.
  • One overall winner will be selected to have their artwork appear on the cover of the 25th edition of the Express Yourself! Finalists’ Anthology.
  • One winner per grade category will have their artwork appear on the back cover, for a total of three winners.
  • Two finalists per grade category will have their artwork appear in the anthology, for a total of six honorable mentions.
  • All finalists will be invited to an award ceremony on April 22, 2021.


All entries become the property of the Friends of Dallas Public Library and the Dallas Public Library. Dallas Public Library is granted permission to use the drawings at its discretion. For more information contact: poetry@dallaslibrary.org

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.