Mostly New: The Grey Art Gallery and You Undergraduate Creative Writing Competition

Hosted with West 10th, the NYU Creative Writing Program’s undergraduate literary journal

In conjunction with the exhibition Mostly New: Selections from the NYU Art Collection
March 21, 2022–May 20, 2023

Deadline extended to MARCH 27!

Mostly New: The Grey Art Gallery and You is a creative writing competition that invites New York University undergraduates to visit the Grey Art Gallery, NYU’s fine arts museum, and respond to the unparalleled experience of spending time with works of art. The exhibition Mostly New: Selections from the NYU Art Collection is a special moment for the Grey, since all of the works on view belong to the NYU community as a part of the NYU Art Collection, which the Grey stewards. What can the artworks in Mostly New tell us about our collective history, our present social conditions, or our personal experiences? The Grey Art Gallery and West 10th invite you to explore these questions in writing.

The Grey Art Gallery is located at 100 Washington Square East (one block north of Starbucks). Gallery hours are Monday–Friday, 12–5pm and extended hours 5–7pm on Wednesday, February 15.

Submissions are due at midnight on March 27, 2023, and winners will be announced at an in-person event in May 2023.

Competition Prizes

  • The top three winning entries will receive cash prizes of $250, $150, and $100 and will be published online on
  • The grand prize winner will also have their entry printed in the 2023–2024 issue of West 10th, published in spring 2024.
  • Winning authors will have the opportunity to present their writing at the in-person event in May.

Nuts and Bolts

  • The competition will be juried by student editors from West 10th literary journal.
  • All NYU undergraduate students are invited to participate, and all entries must demonstrate that you visited the Grey Art Gallery in person.
  • Submissions will be judged on the strength of their engagement with specific artworks and/or the exhibition as a whole, and on the substance and originality of the writer’s insights.
  • The format is open, but your response must address some aspect of the exhibition Mostly New: Selections from the NYU Art Collection. (You may respond to the exhibition as a whole, or to one or more of the works on view.)
  • Submissions may take the form of creative nonfiction, creative art criticism, fiction, personal essays, and poetry.
  • Entries must not exceed 2,000 words (10 double-spaced pages). Poetry submissions should not exceed three poems.
  • What artwork or artworks inspired your response? Please provide the artwork title and the artist’s name.
  • Please attach your submission as a word document or a pdf.
  • IMPORTANT: To demonstrate that you visited the gallery, please take and attach an original photo of the artwork(s) that your submission addresses.
  • Submissions are due by midnight on March 27, via the submission form below.

Get Inspired

The artworks in Mostly New: Selections from the NYU Art Collection range across historical contexts and geographies, and vary in technique and style. Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Materiality and process
  • Scale
  • Opacity, transparency, reflections, and other forms of visual ambiguity
  • Identity and belonging
  • Artistic collaboration
  • Implied narratives
  • Humor in art
  • Global modernisms
  • Cross-temporalities, anachronisms, and remembering the future

Not sure where to start?

Join one of our art writing info sessions and workshops for students:

Session I: Intro to Writing About Art
Weds. February 15, 6pm
Grey Art Gallery (100 Washington Square East)
Leah Sweet, Head of Education and Programs, Grey Art Gallery
This informal session will introduce the NYU Art Collection and provide useful approaches and questions to get you started writing about visual art.

Session II: Writing Workshop for Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, and Fiction
Weds. March 1, 12pm
Grey Art Gallery (100 Washington Square East)
Matthew Rohrer, Clinical Professor of Creative Writing, NYU
Feel free to bring potential submissions in creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction for review or use this workshop to begin writing.

Or try responding to one of the following prompts:

  • Spend time engaging with works in the collection that depict people. Use this work and the scene rendered to create a narrative. What happened that led up to the moment depicted? What happens next? Who are the characters? What do they want?
  • Find a work in the gallery that has strong visual elements: form, shape, color, and texture. Describe them in an active way. How do these visual elements shape the work’s meaning? What story do they tell, and why does it matter?

Submissions are due by midnight, March 27.

Enter your submission here.

*You must be logged into your NYU account to access the entry form.

Email Leah Sweet ( with any questions. Best of luck!

Ends 3/27/23 11:59 pm
Participants All NYU Undergraduate Students


Program Types: Contest