Lights at Lee Square Design Competition 2023

Congratulations to the winners! Learn more about their work here and join us on Nov. 16 at the Light up Lee Square Celebration for the unveiling of their designs!

Closed for Submissions. Create an original design for a chance to win cash and have your design displayed in Lee Square! 


The Lights at Lee Square Design Competition back, and seeking original art or animation submissions from the community. You may remember our past call out for community art themed around What Lights You Up? and Thriving Together. Get ready to shape the public realm with your creativity and share your art on campus for all to admire!  

The Lights at Lee Square is located outside of the UBC Bookstore, in the plaza formally known as Money and Raymond M.C. Lee Square. From dusk to dawn, the space is illuminated with themed animations by a permanently installed, overhead projection system. In this design competition, four winning designs will be selected by a judging panel for projection onto Lee Square.

Theme for 2023: Show Us How You Celebrate!

Celebrations are an important way to connect, share, and build community.

This year, we invite you to create a design inspired by your culture and the cultural holidays and traditions that are meaningful to you.

You may find the following prompts useful to kickstart your creativity:

  • What is a favourite memory you have from celebrating a holiday or tradition?
  • Why is this celebration meaningful for you?
  • What do you want your community to know about this celebration?
  • What makes this celebration unique?

Eligibility & Entry Tiers

  • One entry per person. A group of two people maximum may submit one entry, as long as both members meet the criteria of the selected entry tier.
  • There are four entry tiers with varying eligibility, design format and cash prizes.
  • Entrants will self-select one tier to enter. Please ensure you meet the requirements for the tier you enter. The entry tiers, requirements and the cash prize amounts are:

Children (12 years & under) - $50 cash prize

  • Open to those 12 years and under, currently living in the UNA, Acadia Park or Musqueam
  • Draw, paint or digitally create a non-animated artwork following the technical specifications outlined in the guidelines

Youth (13-18 years) - $100 cash prize

  • Open to those 13-18 years, currently living in the UNA, Acadia Park or Musqueam
  • Draw, paint or digitally create a non-animated artwork following the technical specifications outlined in the guidelines

UBC Students – $200 cash prize

  • Open to any student at UBC Vancouver campus enrolled in Winter Session 2023/2024
  • Draw, paint or digitally create a non-animated artwork/design following the technical specifications outlined in the guidelines 
  • *Note: If you are a student and would like to submit an animated entry, please enter the Animators category.

Animators – $300 cash prize

  • Open to all current students, faculty, staff, or alumni members at UBC Vancouver, Robson Square, Centre for Digital Media
  • Open to all residents of UNA, Acadia Park or Musqueam
  • Create an animated artwork/design following the technical specifications outlined in the guidelines

Design Guidelines

Looking for some inspiration? You may find it helpful to browse through past winning designs and photos of the design projections on Lee Square. Check out the winning entries from Thrive Together (2021) and What Lights You Up?(2020).

For all submissions, please note:

  • Original submissions only (no logos).
  • The design will be projected onto a surface area of approximately 10m x 6m.
  • The artwork/design does not fill the entire boundary.
  • The artwork/design will be viewed from all angles.

You may hand draw or use digital software to create your design. Please review the specifications for each method:

If hand drawn:

  • Draw your design on a white piece of paper, letter size 8.5x11.  Note: The white background of the drawing will be digitally removed when projected. 
  • Take a photo or scan the hand drawing. Please ensure that the photograph or scan is evenly illuminated with no shadows appearing on the image.
  • The drawn design will be resized to fit a resolution of 1920 x 1080 when projected.

If using digital software:

  • Resolution 1920 x 1080
  • The design should comprise of objects on a transparent or white background

If an animated video:

  • Resolution 1920 x 1080
  • Format MP4 Video
  • FPS 24
  • Suggested animation length is under two minutes

Judging Criteria

Entries will be evaluated by a panel consisting of staff from Eos LightMedia, UBC Campus + Community Planning and the University Neighbourhoods Association (UNA). Judges will evaluate submissions (design and provided description) using the following criteria: 

  • How well does the design connect to the theme?
  • How well can others connect to the design?
  • How well does the design utilize the medium?
  • Is the design clear?
  • Is the design creative and original?

Submit your entry

  • Ready to enter? Complete the online form, including your submission file or a link to your submission (i.e. Google Drive or YouTube link, or other social media / file sharing platform of your choice).
  • Each submission must include a short (150 words max) description about your design and the inspiration behind your work.
  • The deadline to enter is November 5, 2023.
  • Winners will be announced and their art unveiled at a special community event taking place in Lee Square on November 16, 2023, from 5-7pm. Find full details for Light up Lee Square here!

Thank you to everyone that entered! Our judges are currently evaluating all entries. 


If you would like to update your entry or have any questions about this competition, please email:

Photo: Lee Square with one of the winning animation from 2021.