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The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is awarding over $20,000 in college scholarships to the next generation of creative, innovative, and fearless graduating high school seniors who demonstrate a willingness to risk failure in the pursuit of something new. The Failure Awards scholarships reward Colorado students who embrace the spirit of creative risk-taking with scholarship monies that can be used at any accredited four-year institution towards educational expenses. While so much of student life is focused on achievement, MCA Denver believes that in order to create something original and authentic, it is necessary to risk failure. The Failure Awards are given not on the basis of academic merit or athletic prowess, but rather on a student’s demonstration of a willingness to take these risks.


The Failure Awards are based on documentation of a project the student created or produced that demonstrates originality and creativity. This can be a creative project, like a novel, a play, an opera; a technology-based project like a design for a new car, or a spaceship, or a robot; or something that falls outside of these criteria altogether. Some projects may present solutions to problems in the world, however, all projects will be considered, no matter how harebrained, impractical, or absurd.

Of all the submitted projects, six finalists will be invited to present their projects during the Failure Fair on April 13-14, 2018 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Each finalist will be given time to present their projects to a panel of judges. Winners of the top three prizes will be announced during the Fair. All three remaining finalists will receive a $700 one-time scholarship award.

The top prizes will be distributed over four years, provided that the recipient maintains full-time (minimum 12 credit hours per semester) enrollment in an accredited four-year college or university, has a 2.5 or higher cumulative grade point average, and maintains Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by their institution.

The Failure Awards:

$10,000 Top Prize
$5,000 Second Prize
$3,000 Third Prize
$700 x3 one-time awards

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