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New York Agriculture in the Classroom


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Commodity Icon Art Contest


Do you have skills in graphic design, pencil drawing, watercolors, oils, acrylics, crayons, etc.…? If you do, we are looking for amazing artists from across New York State who are interested in applying their talent in helping us create a new statewide agricultural commodities map.

Our digital commodity map will be an agricultural literacy resource designed to help students and teachers more fully learn about the diverse and expansive food and fiber systems found in New York State.

The commodity map resource will allow for:

  • A greater understanding of our state's agricultural sectors
  • Identification of what crops and products are grown, raised, and manufactured in our state
  • Support Next Generation Learning Standards inquiry based learning pedagogy
  • Help students identify the diverse regions, growing zones, and geology that effects our commodities

To participate, you must be a NYS student in grades 3-12

  • Framed 36in x 25in full color commodity map
  • $100 gift card
  • Art displayed at The Great New York State Fair
  • Awards presentation at school
  • Art print of your 5 favorite images for student to hang or include in art portfolio
  • A plaque for the student and an additional plaque to be presented to the school at the school award ceremony
Classroom Prize

Sponsoring teacher will earn one aeroponic Tower Garden for their classroom


Art must be paper or canvas based and be hand drawn, painted, or computer generated. We are not accepting three-dimensional art such as sculpture or ceramics for this contest. We are also not accepting photographs for this contest.

Artwork must be original, and student created. Students must "freehand" their drawing and not trace from another source. Individual icons must fit within a 3in x 3in square area. Participants can print and use our template or students can develop their own 3in x 3in square grid on quality art paper such as drawing paper, watercolor paper, canvas, etc. If a student uses canvas, the canvas must not be framed.

To be considered for the prize package, students must illustrate or design an icon for each of the 26 commodities listed. Judges will only evaluate one icon submission per commodity. If students create multiple examples of a single icon, they must submit only one to be considered by the judging committee.


NYAITC has partnered with View Arts in Old Forge, NY to create a judging panel made up of NYAITC and View team members as well as artists who teach at and are associated with View. The top submission will be identified by this group of agriculture and art professionals.


The contest starts November 2, 2020 and submissions must be received by Friday, January 8, 2021. The winner will be announced no later than Wednesday, February 3, 2021.


Students will create an authentic art piece that represents the following 26 commodities.

  • Apples
  • Beef Cattle
  • Cabbage
  • Cheese
  • Cherries
  • Chicken
  • Christmas tree
  • Corn
  • Commercial Fishing
  • Dairy Cow
  • Dairy Processing (i.e. yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese)
  • Grains
  • Grapes
  • Green Beans
  • Greenhouse
  • Hay
  • Honey
  • Horse
  • Ice Cream
  • Lamb
  • Maple
  • Peas
  • Pig
  • Potatoes
  • Soybeans
  • Timber

An icon is a symbol that can be found on maps, websites, signs, etc. Icons are used to universally represent things or concepts. We interact with icons every day from the symbols you push on your phone to the figures you see on signs throughout your school. Your art will become the icons on our commodity map and will be used to represent the different agricultural products that can be found throughout our state.

How to submit
  • Entries must be submitted by January 8, 2021
  • All submissions must be the original student work. No copies please
  • Artists must record the following on the back of each item that is submitted: student's name, school name, and teacher name
  • When writing this information, please make sure that it is legible and done in pencil
  • If an item is missing this information the entrant will be disqualified
  • If a student creates any graphicly designed submissions, they can submit their work through the following online submission form: NYAITC Digital File Art Submission

Art will not be returned to the artist. By submitting art to this contest, the artist is giving permission for New York Agriculture in the Classroom to use their art in perpetuity as the icon art for the commodity map resource as well as other New York Agriculture in the Classroom marketing, events, and contests.

Mail Art to
Jeremiah Best
New York Agriculture in the Classroom
PO Box 562
Inlet, NY 13360
Agricultural Commodity Student Art Show

Through our partnership with View Arts, we will be offering a juried Agricultural Commodity Student Art Show. Artists work will be selected from submissions to the contest by the jury made up of artists, NYAITC staff, and the View Arts team. Artists who are selected to participate will be notified by the NYAITC staff of their acceptance into the show. The show will highlight the artistic talents of our New York State students and exhibit New York State's strong and diverse agricultural landscape. To be considered for the art contest, students can create and enter an unique art piece for a single commodity to all 26 commodities. To receive the top prize, students must create an unique art piece for all 26 commodities.

Important Dates
  • Virtual Opening event: March 13th
  • Exhibit runs from March 13th-May 8th

Student's and immediate family are welcome to visit the student show at no cost.

View Arts
3273 NY-28
Old Forge, NY 13420
(315) 369-6411
Classroom Connections

As students participate in this art contest, they can take a deeper dive into the commodities that are grown or produced in New York State as well as the commodities that can be found in their hometowns and counties. We encourage teachers to:

  • Work with students to create a classroom definition and understanding of the term "commodity"
  • Create a classroom commodity library that highlights and teaches students about different commodities and can be utilized by students for research or independent reading
  • Assign students one of the 26 commodities listed to research
  • Assign students or student groups different regions of New York State to research and develop a regional commodity profile or map for their assigned region
  • Have students identify the nutritional values for their assigned commodity or a group of commodities
  • Challenge students to develop a nutritional lunchroom meal from commodities that are found in New York State or in their region
  • Have a "cookoff" using only commodities that can be found in New York State or in your region
  • Have students create a presentation and share their research with their peers
  • Ask students to develop an advertisement and brand for their commodity
  • Create your own class commodity map and locate where the 26 listed commodities can be found throughout New York State
  • Work as a class to research and create a list of New York State commodities that are not found on our list
  • Conduct an interview with a farmer or invite them to a virtual meeting with your class. To find a farmer or agriculture professional from your community or region, use the organizations below:

Consider sharing your student's work to your school social media pages and tagging New York Agriculture in the Classroom ( #NYAITC or #NYagintheclassroom )! We would love to share the connections your students make as they create their icons and learn more about New York's Agriculture.


Please direct any questions you have to Jeremiah Best.