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Native Americans in Philanthropy Announce Winners Of 2020 Youth Art Contest

October 12, 2020 | 3 min read

Native Americans in Philanthropy Announce Winners Of 2020 Youth Art Contest

UPDATE: You can view the 2020 Youth Art Contest Gallery at

In honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, Native Americans in Philanthropy is proud to announce the four winners of its 2020 Youth Art Contest.

5-9 Age Category Winner: Neva Smith 

Neva Smith, 7 (White Mountain Apache) has won the 5-9 age category and is the recipient of a $250 gift card for art supplies. 

Neva is in the 2nd grade and loves learning about Apache foods and cultural practices from her grandmother. When she grows up she wants to be a chef and a doctor.

“This picture reminds me of a time my baby sister and I visited a cornfield by the river,” says Neva. “Also on July 4th I made the signs for my baby sister and I because I wanted to let people know that racism is never ok, and we need to stand up for people who are treated badly because of the color of their skin.”

10-14 Age Category Winner: Aydrian Day

Aydrian Day, 10 (Hochunk, Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi, Lakota) has won the 10-14 age category and is the recipient of a $500 cash prize award.

At the young age of ten Aydrian has quickly become known and admired as an award winning artist taking home top honors in the youth category in several prestigious Indian Art Markets across North America. Most recently, Aydrian was awarded the People Choice Award at the 2020 Santa Fe Virtual Indian Market. Aydrian says, “I strive to be a good relative by carrying on the art of our people.”

15-19 Age Category Winner: Leah Smith

Leah Smith, 19 (Navajo)  has won the 15-19 age category and is also the recipient of a $500 cash prize award.

Leah says her art is a marriage of the traditional Diné and modern styles. “Devoted mothers are the epitome of being a good relative,” said Leah. “My art depicts how their wise teachings lead to a better life.”

20-24 Age Category Winner: Golga Oscar

Golga Oscar, 23 (Yup’ik - Alaskan Native) won the 20-24 age category and is the recipient of a $1000 cash prize award.

"The photo I took is a self-portrait of my niece and I,” says Golga. “My art piece is a representation of passing down our ancestral techniques to the younger generation, in order for our tradition to keep thriving for the future generations. I created this piece so it can bring awareness to many Indigenous and non-Indigenous nations that we are resilient and taking back our ancestral teachings despite Western colonization.”

Native Americans in Philanthropy applauds these four young artists for their creativity and their interpretation of the contest’s theme, “Be A Good Relative”. The artists were encouraged to illustrate what being a good relative means to them, as a family member, part of their community and culture, or as a citizen of the world. 

Although this year has been one of the most challenging in generations, art can be a powerful way to express our values, traditions, and beliefs—our resilience. The 2020 Youth Art Contest was developed as an opportunity for Indigenous youth to have the opportunity to create and celebrate their culture, skills and talents. 

“These beautiful submissions showcase the diversity of our rich cultures and the inspiring perspective of our children and young adults,” said Erik Stegman, Executive Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy. “We hope our partners in philanthropy will share these on Indigenous Peoples Day and celebrate the importance of our relatives in our work for our communities.”

Native Americans in Philanthropy chose to announce the winners on Indigenous Peoples Day because these young artists honor the history and rich traditions of our cultures while showcasing their contemporary perspective about their communities. Native Americans in Philanthropy expresses its gratitude for every  artist who participated in this year’s contest and for reminding us of the talented and dynamic communities we advocate for every day. 

UPDATE: You can view the 2020 Youth Art Contest Gallery at


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