Anthrocon is hosting a student art competition this year and is looking for entries | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Anthrocon is hosting a student art competition this year and is looking for entries

click to enlarge Anthrocon is hosting a student art competition this year and is looking for entries
CP photo: Jared Murphy
Pittsburgh furry Ava Wos as Akela shows off her artwork for Anthrocon 2019.
Pittsburgh’s annual furry convention Anthrocon is not only one of the biggest in the world, it's easily one of the most loved. And this year, the organizers are planning something new for attendees that looks to not only grow its paw print but add to the fandom.

An art competition for children will be held at this summer's Anthrocon, returning to Pittsburgh from July 2-5. There will be two divisions, each with special prizes for the top pieces of art. The first is for younger entrants up to the age of 12, with a $100 Amazon gift card on the table. The second division will be for entrants ranging in age from 13 to seniors in high school with a much larger prize offer — a $1,000 grant, which can be used at the winner’s discretion for tuition or other educational supplies, according to a press release.

Children must be active students who haven’t graduated as of May 1, 2020. Homeschool and cyberschool students are eligible too, but they must be able to verify their student status in order to enter.

All artwork submitted to the Anthrocon Children’s Art Competition must feature furries in some capacity, be it a cartoon, a photorealistic piece or anything in between. According to the press release, “the characters can be of a true animal form, a mythical animal form, or a completely original animal creation or hybrid between animals,” and entries should in some capacity reflect the 2020 convention theme, Aesop’s Fables.

The student can use just about any physical artistic medium, including (but not limited to) "pencil, ink, pastel, watercolor, paint, crayon, finger painting, hardened polymer clay, fired natural clay, papier-mâché, fabric, artificial fur, acrylic or other plastic, needlepoint, and other creative materials." Digital art is okay too, but if it’s selected for display, it’ll have to be printed out. All art must be appropriate for all ages, and any pieces showing violent or graphic images will be disqualified from the contest.

All artwork must contain the following information on a label affixed to the back of flat artwork or on a card tied securely to 3D pieces: The student’s name, age, school, grade, and art teacher (if available), as well as the title of the artwork (if applicable) and contact information of a parent, teacher, or school administrator.

The entrant must also be the sole creator; if younger children need help reading or understanding the content of Aesop’s Fables, that’s perfectly okay, but the artwork itself must be completed without any outside help.

“The goal is to allow each child’s artistic strength and vision to be seen,” said the press release. “Even a very young child can create something that may move the judges, so please allow the student to do their own work.”

The competition comes out of the convention’s desire to give back to Pittsburgh, which has supported Anthrocon with open arms; many local businesses have greeted its attendees with special treats and decor put up specifically for the convention, or encouraged folks in fursuits to come in and say hello. Condado, Ten Penny, and Pizza Parma were some fan favorites from years past, and Crazy Mocha on Liberty Avenue always crafts a few themed coffee drinks to celebrate Anthrocon and its attendees.

Anthrocon has developed a wonderful, synergistic relationship with the city of Pittsburgh, and wishes to give back a bit more, this time to the children of the city,” said the press release.

Numbers have been on the rise at Anthrocon over the last few years. In 2017, the con reported an attendance of 7,544. In 2018, the number increased to 8,407, and last year, the total jumped again to 9,358. The convention also supports various charities; in the last five years, it has raised $45,852 for PEARL Parrot Rescue in 2019, $42,051 for South Hills Pet Rescue 2018, $37,598 for Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary in 2017, $32,579 for The Pittsburgh Zoo in 2016, and $35,910 for The Western PA Humane Society in 2015.

Anthrocon has also sponsored free HIV testing at Planned Parenthood and has been something of a boon to the city’s economy. According to VisitPittsburgh, furries have had an economic impact of about $46 million over the last decade, incorporated through hotel rooms, meals, travel expenses, and other means of direct spending.

With a history of philanthropy, the Children’s Art Competition comes as no surprise.

The deadline for submissions will be June 1, 2020. A digital scan or image of the artwork must be received by Anthrocon by 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2020 at

For more information about the contest, check out Anthrocon’s website.