The Youth Art Exhibition was conceived when Phillips’ Mill decided to build on the success of its well-respected adult Art Exhibition, which began in 1929. As the adult show seeks participation from artists living within a 25 mile radius of the Mill, the Youth Art Exhibits solicits participation from the art departments of high schools located within that radius. The art department at each school selects the student work. They are then assessed by a juror selected by the Mill, and cash prizes are awarded.
From its start in 2014, the show has grown in size each year, both in the number of artists and works displayed as well as the number of participating high schools. The amount of prize money awarded has also grown thanks to the generosity of sponsors. The exhibition is free for the schools and the artists, and no commission on sales is charged. This year's exhibition was virtual, with award winners notified by March 15, 2021.