ArtPrize and Western Michigan University have announced a new opportunity for students coming to ArtPrize Nine.

A new student award will give $5,000 to the winner.

The Youth Collaboration Award is for any school or eligible nonprofit educational organization with students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The entry must be a collaboration of at least two artists under the age of 18. The winner will be decided by public vote and the prize money will go to the school or educational organization.

Each entry must include one lead artist over the age of 18 who will work with the students. Schools or educational organizations may enter more than one time if they have more than one lead artist.

Offering recognition to youth artists is nothing new at ArtPrize, but making them a part of the public voting process is a new idea. It's a great way to create some excitement around student artwork.

The new prize could even have some benefit to the public vote Grand Prize.

Maybe kids will be less likely to ask their parents to vote for large animal artwork and be happy contributing their ideas for voting to student work?

It's possible that kids have not had a major impact on past finalists, but there's no doubt that they love cardboard and bikes. Either way, the new student award is good for all involved with ArtPrize.

Youth Collaboration Award entries will not have to pay an entry fee. They will also not be eligible to win any other public vote or juried awards.