The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) invites your participation in
the 6th Arts Olympiad, the world's largest school art program.

The Arts Olympiad winners will represent their schools and cities at
the 6th World Children's Festival in Washington, D.C. from July 29 to August 4 of 2020.

This is a free program for schools and students ages 8 to 12.
Extended deadline for art submission is February 10, 2020.


Why the Arts Olympiad?

Problem Statement
Students today face a decline in their creativity and an increase in obesity. Creativity researchers point to the "Creativity Crisis" in America, though creativity is ranked among the “Top Skills” sought by employers. Regarding the obesity epidemic, according to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, recent analysis suggests that by 2030 half of all adults in the United States will be obese.

Innovative Approach
We can employ the arts as a dynamic, physical activity to address one of the causes of decreasing creativity and rising obesity: how students view themselves. The Arts Olympiad will introduce your students to the “Artist-Athlete Ideal” of the creative mind in a healthy body (mente sana in corpo sano). Though any student can benefit from the program, it targets students ages 8 to 12---a cohort most vulnerable to the well-documented “4th-grade slump" in creativity and to the obesity.  This lesson plan takes 2 or 3 class sessions and culminates in a school art contest on the theme, My Favorite Sport, for the selection of the delegates to the 2020 World Children's Festival.

The Arts Olympiad awakens the dormant "inner artist" or the slumbering "inner athlete." This revised self-image solidifies when a student visualizes and depicts himself or herself as an “artist-athlete” in an artwork.​ The linking of imagination with embodiment liberates a natural tendency towards creativity and good health.  With more and more artist-athletes, the school becomes an integrated creative and healthy community.

Arts Olympiad Lesson Plan

Deadline and Submissions

You can submit one best painting or drawing and one best digital art as your school entry.  Your selection should be based on originality and creativity, not technical merit alone. Including a few students in the panel of judges is encouraged.

Submissions must include:
(a) a brief essay by the student about his/her artwork; and
(b) a fully completed School Entry Form (download the pdf and complete it).
Please tape (a) and (b) to the back of the artwork. 

Mail your entry on or before December 20, 2019 to:  ICAF, Post Office Box 58133, Washington, DC 20037

For digital art, please email it with (a) and (b) to and

Click here if you have any questions or would like to send entry via FedEx, UPS or  DHL.

Part 1: Instructional Group Activities​
Activities A, B and C allow students to develop connections between art and sport.

Activity A.  The Olympics Art Competitions

Reading Material: Smithsonian Magazine    Students answer these questions:

                   1) Should the Olympic Art Competitions be reinstated? Why? For what age group of artists?
            2) What is your favorite sport? Why?
                   3) Which cities will host the Summer Olympics of 2020, 2024 and 2028?  The Winter Olympics?

Activity B.  Thinking Outside the Box

Reading Material: ChildArt quarterly 
Students are asked to separate themselves into two groups: “Artists” or “Athletes.”
                                                                           “Artists” answer these questions:

                           1) Why is sport important?                              2) How can physical activity benefit you?

         Artists draw or paint a sports equipment or gear (a ball, a t-shirt, baseball glove, a goal post, etc.)

                                                                           “Athletes” answer these question:

                  1) Why is art important?                                  2) How can drawing or painting benefit you?

       Athletes draw or paint any art equipment or tool (an easel, art smock , a brush, etc.)

Activity C.  Building Peace through Art & Sport

 “Sport has the power to change the world, the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else can.  Sport speak to people in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where there was once only despair. It is an instrument of peace, even more powerful than governments.” -  Nelson Mandela


Questions for students:
Had President Mandela substituted "art" for “sport,”  would his statement still ring true?
Why or why not?
By including both "sport and art" does the statement become stronger?


Part 2:  Original Art Creation


Students are asked to visualize their most favorite sport, which can be an Olympic sport, a traditional activity or an imaginary game.  They then depict themselves as “artist-athlete” playing their favorite sport. Painting or drawing can be on paper, canvas or silk that is 18 x 24 inches ( 45 x 60 cm) in size.

Each student writes a short essay about his/her work. The essay is clipped to the artwork along with a completed School Entry Form.

Though the above lesson plan can benefit students of all ages, only school entries by students ages 8 to 12 are accepted.

                                                      ICAF and the 2020 WCF

Founded in 1997,  ICAF cultivates creativity and grows empathy through the arts. The Arts Olympiad identifies some of the world's most imaginative students--the young artists in America and 100 other countries.  These artists represent their school communities and cities at the World Children's Festival (WCF). The 6th WCF will take place in Washington, D.C. from July 29th to August 4th of 2020.

On July 30th a delegates-only conference will be held. From July 31st to August 2nd, the WCF will take place at The National Mall in Washington, D.C. and may attract 10,000 attendees.  On August 3rd, the WCF Award Banquet will be held (the only ticketed event).  A transformative experience, the WCF fosters creativity and infuses it with empathy to inspire students to become "creative-empaths"--the inventors, change-makers, and collaborative innovators of tommorrow who have an abiding sensitivity and empathy for others.   

ICAF believes that art produced by children is the most honest and purest form of human creative expression and that the collective imagination of  the world's children is a salient force in the universe.  One example of the 2020 WCF activities is production of the "Children's Earth Flag" for NASA's first human mission to Mars.

ICAF provides the Arts Olympiad free and has no registration fee for the WCF. The delegates make their own travel, meals, accommodation and local transport arrangements.  
The U.S. Olympic Committee has granted ICAF an exclusive license to use the 'Arts Olympiad' mark.  ICAF is independently ranked among the 25 Top children's charities in the United States and is supported by "creative-empaths" which include students who organize fundraisers for ICAF at their schools.

ICAF │ Post Office Box 58133 │ Washington, DC 20037 │ +1 202 530 1000 │ │