Guest post by Sarah Matalone
A week into the 25th annual Writer’s Eye competition, the museum can already boast the highest attendance in history, with 2,600 local youth already booked to tour the UVA Art Museum’s collections. That means there will be a lot of work for the judges of its "Writer’s Eye" competition, invites these youngsters from nine sprawling counties in the region, to react to pieces of art in the museum with their own poetry and prose works.
The creative challenge divides competitors into four levels: grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and University/Adult, a category within which organizers are hoping to see greater growth this year. To help writers get started, volunteer docents from both the university and community at large lead tours based on an inquiry method, a process which Education Assistant, Kris Iden says encourages kids to engage in a dialogue with and think more critically about art.
After writers have completed their creative responses, special guest judges, John Casey (the prose assessor) and Kevin McFadden (the poetry assessor) will choose the winners from the entries from the high school and University/Adult categories, with local teachers and writers deciding on the younger batch of entries. The first, second, and third place winners get published in the Writer’s Eye Anthology.
As Iden described the program, Writer’s Eye fulfills an important niche locally, providing students with the opportunity to be in front of a real art object, not simply a reproduction or something displayed on a computer screen, an “evermore rare experience.”
More info on the competition is here. Entries are due by November 11.