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The Arts Center of the Capital Region (ACCR) and the Rensselaer County Complete Count Committee announced the launch of a video contest asking local teenagers to create unique, exciting videos to promote the 2020 Census in Rensselaer County. Teens from ages 13-19 are invited to submit a video to be broadcast by the Rensselaer County Complete Count Committee to promote awareness of, and participation in, the 2020 Census. The contest winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize. Five runners up will receive $100 each.

The contest was developed by The ACCR to help engage middle and high school students who are learning remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With schools across New York State closed through the remainder of the academic year, the contest provides a unique opportunity for teenagers to collaborate using video technology readily available in smartphones and other mobile or video devices.

Rensselaer County teens interested in participating can visit for helpful tips on how to make a successful video, links to important resources, and how to submit their video.

Elizabeth Reiss, Executive Director of the Arts Center of the Capital Region said, “With the continued impact of COVID-19 on teenagers across Rensselaer County, we wanted to develop an opportunity to engage students in a positive, creative way while promoting the long-term impact of the Census in supporting schools and educational programs. Video production is a wonderful way for teens to express their creativity and stay engaged in their community. I hope this contest helps our teens connect to the arts, each other, and Rensselaer County.”

The Rensco Census Teen Video Contest is generously funded by The Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, key partners in Rensselaer County Complete Count Committee’s efforts to get a full and accurate population count.

Leslie Cheu, Executive Director of the Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation said, “Rensselaer County is fortunate to have some very creative teens, and this contest will give them a chance to showcase that creativity and help boost our Census participation. We are pleased to sponsor this contest and excited to see the videos that our teens create.”

Contest Rules:

The winning video will address the purpose and power of the census, relaying direct facts on the census’ impact on Rensselaer County. The creator of the winning video, and any or all runner up videos, will give unconditional permission for their videos to be broadcast by the Rensselaer County Complete Count Committee at their discretion.

All applicants must complete the full application found at Applicants must be permanent residents of Rensselaer County and between the ages of 13-19. Minors under the age of 18 may apply but must submit a consent form signed by a parent or guardian.

Video Guidelines:

  • Videos must be between 30 seconds to 2 minutes in length, filmed in horizontal orientation, and provided in a compatible YouTube format with the proper codecs (MPEG4, MOV, AVI, WMV) with suggested aspect of 16:9.
  • Videos are due by 11:59PM on May 29, 2020.  Late submissions will not be considered. Videos exceeding the length requirements or submitted after the stated deadline will not be reviewed.
  • All videos must be fact-based and contain no misleading or false information.
  • All videos must engage Rensselaer County residents as the primary audience.
  • All videos are strongly encouraged to:
    • Contain a balance of emotional storytelling and clear, relevant, motivating information;
    • Speak to the tangible benefits of the census. For example, the census means funding for your community for critical services like hospitals, health care, education, roads, SNAP, and more;
    • It also determines how many representatives your state will have in the House of Representatives; these are the people who will vote on issues that deeply impact your life and community.

Rules for Music Use:

Any music used in videos must be in the “public domain,” meaning you have legal permission to use it, and the Complete Count Committee has legal permission to broadcast it. A selection of music can be found at

Please note: Applicants can compose original music for their videos. However, any video using music that is not from the pre-approved list and is not an original composition will be disqualified. 


About The Arts Center of the Capital Region:

The Arts Center of the Capital Region serves 40,000 people each year from the eleven counties surrounding Troy.  The ACCR offers 500+ classes a year in pottery, digital arts, printmaking, culinary arts, jewelry making and metalworking, woodworking, painting and drawing, stained glass, writing and dance in addition to presenting programs for the public in their galleries and 100-seat Black Box Theatre. They are a partner of the New York State Council on the Arts, distributing $90,000 a year in decentralization grants for artists who work in the community.

About the Rensselaer County Complete Count Committee:

The Rensselaer County Complete Count Committee was formed in 2019 to encourage participation in the 2020 Census. The committee consists of representatives from federal, state, and local governments, and non-profit organizations from across Rensselaer County, including: Boys and Girls Clubs of the Capital Area, Boys and Girls Club of Southern Rensselaer County, Capital District YMCA – Troy Branch & East Greenbush Branch, Capital Roots, CEO, Concerns- U, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Emma Willard, Hope 7, Hudson Mohawk Area Health Education Center, HVCC, Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley. Indivisible Stephentown, Joseph’s House and Shelter. Lansingburgh Central School District, League of Women Voters of Rensselaer County, McCarthy Charities, NAACP Troy Branch, Oakwood Community Center, Rensselaer County Probation Department, Rensselaer County Department of Aging, Rensselaer County Department of Social Services, Rensselaer County Department of Mental Health, RPI, Sage College, St. Paul’s Center, The ARC of Rensselaer County, The Art Center of the Capital Region, The Sanctuary for Independent Media, The Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Corporation, TRIP, Inc., Troy Area United Ministries,Troy City School District, Troy Housing Authority, Troy Public Library, Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, Uncommon Schools, Troy Prep, Unity House of Troy, Inc., Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, Van Rensselaer Manor, and the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region.

For more information, visit

Connect with the Rensselaer County Complete Count Committee:




Please use the following hashtags in social media posts: #YouCountRensco #GetCountedNY

About the 2020 Census:

The Census is a once-a-decade count of every living person in the United States and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). For the first time, the Census can be completed online at It can also be completed by mail, or by phone.

The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for local communities. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data. The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

For more info, visit