Local artists, writers compete in annual art and writing contest

  • Debbie Ippolito Di Verde talks about her award-winning poem in the Daily Herald Community Art and Writing contest, part of District 214's annual celebration of the arts called "Arts Unlimited," at the Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights.

      Debbie Ippolito Di Verde talks about her award-winning poem in the Daily Herald Community Art and Writing contest, part of District 214's annual celebration of the arts called "Arts Unlimited," at the Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Guests of a previous Arts Unlimited reception at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights mingle among the submitted artwork. Winners of the Arts Unlimited competition receive cash prizes, are published in the Daily Herald and are recognized at the Arts Unlimited reception.

    Guests of a previous Arts Unlimited reception at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights mingle among the submitted artwork. Winners of the Arts Unlimited competition receive cash prizes, are published in the Daily Herald and are recognized at the Arts Unlimited reception. Daily Herald File Photo

 
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 2/24/2017 8:54 AM

Bev Ottaviano of Arlington Heights figures it was 15 years ago when she took the plunge: She began attending the Barrington Writers' Workshop, where she found herself fed by other writers, artists and poets who attended.

She began by writing short fiction pieces. After a few years, she tried her hand at writing poetry.

 

"I found that poetry is an excellent route to writing in a concise manner," Ottaviano says. "I now write both haiku and free verse/prose poetry regularly now. It's a great expression."

Fellow workshop writers encouraged her so much, they convinced her to submit some of her writing to the Daily Herald's annual Arts Unlimited Community Art & Writing Contest.

One of her poems, "Murder of Crows," ended up taking first place last year in the poetry contest.

"It was lovely," Ottaviano says of her award. "I felt excited, acknowledged and proud all at once."

Each year, the Daily Herald partners with Northwest Suburban High School District 214 to sponsor the Art & Writing Contest, allowing adults who live in the district to compete alongside students in the annual Arts Unlimited competition.

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The contest is open to submissions through March 13, says Jennifer Aguilar-Iannotti, an Elk Grove High School art teacher, who is coordinator of Arts Unlimited.

Photographer Jeanne Garrett took first place for her photo, "Still Life," which is part of a series of photos she has taken in a country setting. The winning photo is of a wheelbarrow filled with old feed sacks inside a barn.

"It's one of my favorite images," Garrett says. "Learning that others enjoyed it as well was very satisfying."

The image is a long way from her first job out of college. In 1980, she joined the campaign staff of candidate Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, photographing dignitaries who visited Illinois.

Garrett went on to enjoy a long corporate career and only recently has begun exhibiting her work -- including at Moon Gallery in Arlington Heights and Harper College -- and submitting pieces for contest consideration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"My advice to anyone taking up photography is to continue to learn new things -- and to challenge yourself by using opportunities such as presented by Arts Unlimited to see what happens," Garrett says. "You never know."

Entries can include short stories of less than 1,500 words, poems and artwork, from traditional drawings and paintings to photography and multimedia.

The contest is open to all residents in the District 214 boundaries, which includes Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling.

All entries must be submitted by email to herald.contest@d214.org. Winners will be notified by April 1, receive cash prizes, be published in the Daily Herald and be recognized at the Arts Unlimited reception.

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