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Discover. Develop. Deploy.

Fine Arts Festival

For middle and high school students
Saturday, May 11 | 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
North Central University | 910 Elliot Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Ministry doesn’t end when we leave the church building. We can minister anywhere and everywhere we go—home, school, work, mission trips, and beyond. The Fine Arts Festival is a discipleship tool designed to help students discover, develop, and deploy their ministry gifts. It provides a stepping stone for students to engage in their faith on a deeper level through coaching, feedback, and personal growth as they develop the gifts God has given them.

Each year, over 65,000 students in the US begin preparing their entries for the Fine Arts Festival. They can present as a group or on their own and may enter as many as 75 categories offered in eight divisions: Art, Communication, Dance, Drama, Enterprise, Instrumental, Vocal, and Writing. 

In May, students present at the district level. If they qualify, they can participate in the National Fine Arts Festival July 30–August 3. At Nationals, students present again and receive valuable feedback from experts in their division. The Fine Arts Festival is an amazing opportunity for students to recognize that we’re all a part of something bigger than ourselves, our churches, and even our states.


Cedar Valley has many adult leaders who value students and want to see them grow in their giftings. Students can talk to pastors, leaders, and Fine Arts coaches about their presentations and get tips and valuable feedback.

Here are a few ways to get started:

Attend a Workshop

If you’re interested in presenting on your own, attend one of Cedar Valley YTH’s solo category workshops. Meet with coaches who can help you get started and connect with others who are interested in the same categories.

Sunday, February 17 | 1–2 p.m. 

• Short Sermon/Spoken Word 
• Vocal Solo
• Drama 

Sunday, March 17 | 1–2 p.m.

• Short Sermon/Spoken Word
• Vocal Solo
• Dance

Connect with a coach

Coaching is available in select categories for both group and solo presentations. To connect with a coach, contact Annika Gustafson at or 952-854-1100.

Group Categories

• Small Drama 
• Human Video (JV & Varsity) 
• Youth Choir
• Worship Team 

Solo Categories

• Short Sermon/Spoken Word
• Vocal Solo/Songwriting
• Drama
• Dance

Once connected with a coach, students will learn about group practice schedules and requirements (some groups may meet more regularly than others).

No workshops or coaches listed for your category?

If there’s nothing listed for your category, contact Annika Gustafson at or 952-854-1100. Some of our coaches have been involved with Fine Arts for many years and have experience in other areas. Annika will connect you with someone who can help.


For solo presentations, Saturday, April 27

Students who are presenting on their own can sign up for a 30-minute time slot with a coach/leader to practice and receive feedback. Students in more than one solo category can sign up for additional time slots.

For both solo and group presentations, Sunday, May 5

Cedar Valley YTH is hosting a preview day for students to practice in front of an audience before the District Fine Arts Festival. It also gives students a chance to see each other’s presentations (they may not have that opportunity at the event).


District Fine Arts Festival

The District Fine Arts Festival is Saturday, May 11. Students should plan to be there from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Students won’t find out when they’re presenting until that morning. A tentative schedule is listed below.

Schedule of Events
  • 8:00 a.m. Student Check-In

  • 9:15 a.m. Participant Orientation 

  • 9:30 a.m. Performances & Judging Begin (In various rooms determined by category) 

  • 12:00 p.m. Lunch (North Central University Cafeteria) *Free for participating Fine Arts students, $8 for all others 

  • 2:00 p.m. Nationals Preview Presentation 

  • 3:30 p.m. Fine Arts Celebration Service | Superior with Invitation winners will be announced

Parents, other family members, and friends are all welcome to watch the students at the District Fine Arts Festival. It’s a fun day of watching the students use their gifts. There’s no cost to watch, and optional lunch tickets can be purchased at the event.

We encourage all students to stay for the Celebration Service, where some of the top groups and individuals will have a chance to present. This is especially important for students who are part of a group—your group can’t present without you!


Must Read

Visit for the official Rulebook, tips for each division, and additional clarifications.

Watch videos of previous student participants on YouTube—search for “National Fine Arts” and your category of interest.

Look up the Top 10 list from previous years to find those who did well. These are the people you want to learn from.

If you see the word “merit” in a video description, watch it! It means they won.


How it works

Students are evaluated on a number of criteria based on their category. You can find the criteria in the official 2019 National Fine Arts Festival Rulebook at

All scores are based on a point system. Students must score an average of 36 points out of 40 to qualify for the National Fine Arts Festival. Most students/groups will have 2–3 evaluators and average scores will be rounded (ie. scores of 35-36-36 will qualify, but 35-35-36 will not). Students are evaluated based on their own skills and not in comparison to other students.


What happens next

Cedar Valley YTH is planning a trip to this year’s National Fine Arts Festival for students who qualify for Nationals. Students will travel to Orlando, Florida, as a team and will be in the care of Cedar Valley YTH. Qualifying students will be contacted with more information after the District Fine Arts Festival.

The trip will be Monday, July 29–Monday, August 5 (it does not overlap with Youth Camp), and will include a fun day.

Qualifying students (groups and solo) will continue practicing during the summer, and schedules will be set once we know who is planning to go.

Trip cost will be set in May after we know how many people are going (we’re hoping to keep it around $1000). Fundraisers will be available starting in June. We hope to do a dinner or dessert fundraiser where Cedar Valley, family, and friends can see students’ presentations before they go to the National Fine Arts Festival.

The best way to experience the National Fine Arts Festival is with other students. This trip isn’t just about competition—it’s about students using their gifts and building community. Parents are welcome to attend, but we ask that you do so on your own (allowing your student to be part of the YTH trip) or as a chaperone. We know some families use this time as a family vacation—if this is you, please call or email us to talk about logistics.



$40 for first entry; $10 for each additional entry

Example: Student participating in 1 category = $40; 2 categories = $50, 3 categories = $60

Registration forms are available at Youth Service on Wednesdays or download it here.

Online Registration is NOT available. Please turn in paper registration forms with cash or check payable to "Cedar Valley Church."



Annika Gustafson