In 1951, I received the one and only "art award" I have ever received. It was the Boy Scouts Art Badge. Since besting myself is more challenging than trying to best others in competitions, I have never really put any real heart into the process of art competitions as a professional.
Ah, nostalgia! How lucky we are at an early age. . . We can be both cute and awarded at the same time. Today. . . many years later, we are no longer cute nor are we ever considered for awards. . . . (Sigh!)
I am a painter and writer who's whole life has been influenced by one precept : "thinking each our own thoughts makes us relevant and relevance makes us powerful."