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As our clients can tell you, ShyCast has traditionally done one thing and done it really well: video contests.

We’ve spent a lot of time counseling the benefits of getting people out of their comfort zones and deeply investing in a contest entry the way you must when you create video from scratch. Everything amps up – the passion, the response, and ultimately the results – some of the most inspired, spirited, interesting, and rewarding marketing programs I’ve ever been involved with.

By contrast we’ve always considered picture contests to be of a slightly less compelling nature, just by virtue of the fact that it’s a snap for most people these days to take a picture and upload to a site.

But a few months ago a very exciting client came to us with a very exciting concept for a “picture” contest that gave us the mojo to thoughtfully design and then build that capability into our platform.

The client is McGraw Hill, and the concept is to empower students to create artwork for a new line of math courses called My Math (McGraw Hill also owns Everyday Math, for those of you with kids in elementary school). Students can create any form of art that represents “What Math Means to Me”.

If you’re a fan of guys like Michelangelo and DaVinci, you appreciate life’s inextricable connections between art and math. This contest gives kids the chance to exercise their inner Eschers, and be rewarded with real recognition that perfectly aligns with their DIY worlds: winning works of art will be included throughout the classrooms materials, and featured in the new Museum of Math opening in Manhattan.

The total prize package for teachers is around $175,000 in classroom technology, tools, and materials.  Not too shabby.

The contest is launching today in Preview Phase only.  Submissions start September 15, so visit then to see the photo-enhanced version of our platform, with lots of thoughtful little goodies to make photo contests especially great.

It’s all about concept, and with the My Math Art Contest McGraw Hill has created something very special. Special enough to put us in pictures. Thank you for giving us a reason to step in front of the camera.

ps – and a special thanks to our longtime partners in crime, the Goodfellaz.