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Overture Awards

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Welcome to the Overture Awards

To begin the application process and view discipline criteria, locate the "Start an Application" drop down on the left hand side of the screen and select your category and program. Please be sure to review the information below before starting an application.

About the Overture Awards:
The Overture Awards is a program that recognizes, encourages, and rewards excellence in the arts among Greater Cincinnati students in grades 9-12. Its mission is to encourage arts education as an integral part of a student’s academic experience and to create an environment that encourages training in, and appreciation of, the arts. The Overture Awards Competition is the area’s largest solo arts competition and offers awards in six artistic disciplines: creative writing, dance, instrumental music, theatre, visual art, and vocal music.

2024 Competition Timeline:
  • Applications Open: September 19, 2023
  • Application Deadline: December 13, 2023 at 11:59pm
  • Semi-Finalists Announced: January 12, 2024
  • Semi-Finals Competition: February 1-3, 2024 at the Aronoff Center (Times TBA)
    • Creative Writing: adjudicated virtually

    • Dance: February 1, 2024

    • Instrumental Music: February 3, 2024

    • Theater: Saturday, February 3, 2024

    • Visual Art: Artwork drop-off TBA

    • Vocal Music: Saturday, February 3, 2024

  • Finalists Notified: February 5, 2024
  • Overture Awards Rehearsal: March 15, 2024 at the Aronoff Center
  • Overture Awards Final Competition: March 16, 2024 at the Aronoff Center

Overture Awards Disciplines:
  • To view discipline criteria, locate the "Start an Application" drop down on the left hand side of the screen and select your category and program.
  • Applicants can enter in only one of the following disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theater, Visual Art, or Vocal Music
  • Discipline Program Groups:
    • Creative Writing
    • Dance
    • Instrumental Music: Select program for specific application.
      • Brass/Woodwind/Percussion
      • Piano
      • String
    • Theater: Select program for specific application.
      • Apply for “Drama” if you are performing 2 monologues.
      • Apply for “Musical Theater” if you are performing 1 monologue and 1 song.
    • Visual Art
    • Vocal Music: Enter this discipline if you plan to sing two songs


  • Applicants must be in grades 9-12 who study in the Greater Cincinnati Region. (*find all qualifying counties below).
  • By completing an application, students agree to be available for the competition dates. (see dates above) If a student is not available on the competition dates, they are not eligible to compete. 

Students do not need to be nominated in order to submit an application for the Overture Awards. There is no limit on the number of students that can apply to the Overture Awards from one school. However, we do encourage students to have a teacher/school coordinator/counselor review their application and discipline's criteria prior to submitting.

Application Fee:
The application fee is $25 and must be paid in order to submit application.  If the application fee is a barrier to your participation in the Overture Awards, we are happy to waive the fee. Please email overtures@cincinnatiarts.org to request a fee waiver.

Application Submission Options:

Applications may be filled out and submitted by a school coordinator/teacher OR by a student. The student and coordinator/teacher should decide which of the following application methods will be used:

  1. A student may fill out and submit their application independently. (Students do not need to be nominated in order to apply)
  2. School coordinators/teachers may fill out and submit an application on behalf of a student.
  3. School coordinators/Teachers may first start an application for a student, then give access to the student by providing their email address when prompted. The coordinator/teacher and student will have access to the application. (Students will receive a verification email sent to the email address the school coordinator/teacher provides.)

New Overture Awards Coordinators:
Sign up to be added to our mailing list here. A teacher, counselor, administrator, or private studio teacher can serve as a coordinator. A coordinator's role is to guide a student or group of students thorough the application process. 

Overture Awards Communication:
Email is the primary means of communication for the Overture Awards. After the application deadline, communication will take place via the Acceptd platform and messages will be sent to the email address that's been recorded on a student application. Please be sure the email information entered on the application is accurate.

The following counties constitute the “Greater Cincinnati” area:
State of Ohio: Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, Highland, Warren
State of Kentucky: Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Pendleton
State of Indiana: Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley, Switzerland

YoungArts Finalists:
The Overture Awards and YoungArts have an agreement where Overture Awards finalists automatically advance in YoungArts. The Overture Awards has extended that agreement to eligible Overture Awards competitors who advance to the finals in YoungArts. Since the YoungArts Finals conflicts with the Overture Awards Regional Competition, Overture Awards competitors who advance to YoungArts Finals will automatically advance to the Overture Awards Semi-Finals competition. Competitors must meet all other requirements including completing an application, and must notify the Overture Awards about advancing to YoungArts Finals.

Visit the Overture FAQ Page Contact overtures@cinnatiarts.org or 513-977-4116.

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