The search is on for New England’s emerging young artists who are exploring innovative ideas around sustainability through their work.

The Tidal Shift Award, presented by the The Climate Initiative and Portland Museum of Art, Maine, aims to leverage the power of socially-aware artworks, awarding and platforming teenagers and young adults who are focused on solutions for climate change.

Submissions of artworks that relate to the climate crisis through theme, subject matter, solutions, and more are currently being accepted. The aim is to showcase the artists and artworks that can influence, motivate, and galvanize local communities to do more to address the environment, according to a press statement announcing the award..

The Tidal Shift Award is open to all young artists in the New England region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Abenaki, Maliseet, Micmac, Mohegan, Narragansett, Nauset, Nipmuc, Passamaquoddy, Pennacook, Penobscot, Pequot, Wabanaki, Wampanoag, and Woronoco nations) between the ages of 14 and 22, to create a work of art contemplating an issue and/or a solution to a crisis facing your community resulting from climate change.

Participants can use any medium (e.g. painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, video, all works of paper) and young artists of any ethnic or racial identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability are encouraged to apply.

Cash prizes will be awarded in two divisions (three prizes awarded per division):


• Division 1: Ages 14-18

• Division 2: Ages 19-22

The Tidal Shift Award is a juried competition comprised of leaders in the field of science, advocacy, academia, and the arts, who believe we need new ways to address a crisis that is otherwise too easily ignored.

Over the last five years, The Portland Museum of Art has worked to reposition the museum a leader in Maine’s cultural, economic, and environmental future, investing in DEAI actions while promoting an Art for All mission. Its hope has long been to center Maine and New England as a place that brings new ideas, people, and communities together. In order to achieve this goal, the PMA has made sustainability a core tenet driving its Strategic Plan.

The Climate Initiative believes youth are key to solving the climate challenge because they influence and foster climate concern among their parents, communities, and decision-makers. Their goal is to develop a cohesive youth voice that influences decision-makers to embrace climate solutions. TCI aims to educate, empower and activate 10 million youth to reach this goal by 2025.

Art’s ability to inspire social change can be harnessed to fight climate change, according to the release.


From the rocky shores and pristine waterways to the vast wilderness and open terrain, New England’s natural beauty has long been our calling card.

For the communities who call New England home — whether fishing villages along the coast, small downtown districts, large city centers, or destinations “upta camp” — everything that makes New England special is connected to the environment.

The region is acutely at risk due to climate change. Maine’s seas are warming faster than 99 percent of the entire ocean. Rhode Island is implementing sweeping climate change legislation. And Vermont is preparing for future migration as a result of climate change. Some future changes are inevitable, but with prompt action, many of the most extreme consequences of climate change could be avoided or their worst impacts reduced, according to the release. The time for action is now.

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