Calling all writers, poets and artists.
Officials with Northwest Suburban High School District 214 and the Daily Herald are looking for submissions for their annual Community Art & Writing Contest, which runs concurrently with the Arts Unlimited celebration of the arts in District 214 schools.
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The contest seeks artwork, poetry and prose entries from residents living inside the high school district boundaries, including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, western Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling.
Entries must be submitted by March 1 and winners will have their works published in the Daily Herald, as well as be recognized at an Arts Unlimited reception and win cash prizes.
While students can enter their work in the community contest as well, the Community Art & Writing Contest is meant to give voice to adults in the community whose artistic gifts don't have the forum for expression that students do. Past winners say the honor goes well beyond the monetary prize.
Patti Brock, a Mount Prospect resident who teaches in Chicago, says winning a prize for her original short story, "Marjani" in 2012 gave her the confidence she needed to keep writing.
It came after years of encouraging her seventh-graders in Chicago to keep journals and write down their stories. When she finally took her own advice, she found her own voice in writing, and judges took note.
"Winning the contest did inspire me to keep writing," says Brock. She joined the Writers Group at the Mount Prospect Public Library, and since joining she has written four short stories and is working on a novel.
Likewise, poetry winner Amanda Faust, who graduated last year from Rolling Meadows High School, continues to compose poems while a student at the University of Missouri.
"This contest, and the encouragement of my high school teacher, Mark Maxwell, truly helped me see that my work was appreciated," Faust says.
Residents may submit only one entry. For prose submissions, they may be of any genre, style or theme. Judges request they be printed in 12-point font, be double-spaced, and must not exceed 1,500 words. Likewise, poems should not run longer than 50 lines.
The only restriction on artwork is that it be reproduced on standard paper, since no originals will be returned.
Officials ask that each entrant submit two copies, including one with a name, title of the piece, as well as address, phone number and email address. The other should be left blank for the judges.
Submit all entries to Forest View Educational Center, care of the AU/Herald Art & Writing Contest, and to the attention of Pam Pilafas, at 2121 S. Goebbert Road in Arlington Heights, IL, 60005.
Questions may be emailed to Liz Schrenk, at Liz.Schrenk@gmail.com.