With shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars proving that the hunt for rare and special objects appeals to every generation, several leaders in the art and antiques trade have joined together to sponsor a national writing contest for kids of all ages. “Biography of an Object" Writing Contest will be open for entries from June 15 through August 15 in three divisions: “Child” (ages 12 and under), “Teen” (ages 13-19) and “Adult” (ages 20 and over). Contestants in each age group will vie for a first prize package valued at over $1,000, including a Nook Color e-reader, Barnes & Noble gift card and subscriptions to the top antiques and art newspapers and database.
Originally conceived as a middle school research assignment by Stacy Nockowitz, a teacher from Columbus, Ohio, the idea grabbed the attention of the Jeff and Amelia Jeffers (owners of antiques and art auction firm, Garth’s Auctions). “I remember entering writing contests as a kid and really enjoying it,” explains Amelia. “And, our company is always looking for ways to interest younger generations in the history of material culture. We believe collectors are cultivated, and we are committed to being a part of an effort to cultivate as much interest as possible!” Garth’s staff modified the project into contest form with emphasis not only on the history and research of the objects, but a creative spirit, embracing an interest in historical objects and story-telling. With a wealth of information related to material culture available on the internet and in libraries, the contest is a chance to emphasize the importance of heritage, reading/research, as well as the great fun of doing a summer writing project as a family (or solo).
Contest sponsors were enthusiastic from the initial suggestion. Signing on to promote and support the contest are three of the top trade newspapers: Antiques & the Arts Weekly, AntiqueWeek, and Maine Antique Digest, as well as the popular online database Prices4Antiques.com. Each paper will include entry forms and information related to the contest in upcoming issues; Prices4Antiques will engage their vast network of public libraries to spread the word. “The companies who joined us have a proven track record of supporting initiatives to engage and encourage interest in art and antiques among every generation,” comments Jeff Jeffers. “We are very happy to have their involvement - and, hope to see the contest grow in future years. The antiques and art trade community is full of folks who appreciate an opportunity to share their passions. This is a terrific way to reach a broad audience.”
For more information about the contest guidelines, prizes and a registration form, visit www.garths.com/contest or call 740.362.4771.
Entrants may choose one of the following objects (or, request a 30 day trial membership from prices4antiques.com using the code “contest30day” to browse the archive and choose an object within their personal field of interest):
A Chippendale period side chair made in Philadelphia.A 19th Century folk art doll, made from a bedpost & thought to have midwest origin.An early 20th Century painting of cowboys and Indians by Frank Tenney Johnson.A bronze Buddha statue, inset with precious stones, made in 17th Century Tibet and found in a basement in Ohio in 2008.A mummified bird from ancient Egypt.Vampire killing kit from the early 20th Century (A novelty item popularly considered to have been created by entrepreneurs in response to the publishing of Dracula by Bram Stoker in 1897).Civil War General Benjamin Brice’s cased pair of pinfire revolvers.
Once an object is chosen, contestants should create a brief fictional biography (prose or poetry) or a more studied, non-fictional account. In either case, the author will want to address similar questions to those one would ask if writing a biography of a person: Where are you from? What was your life like? What was your purpose?. For example, the biography of a chest of drawers from France from the 1800’s would reveal totally different details than the biography of a chest of drawers from Philadelphia circa 1776. Entrants are also required to submit an image of the item of focus (images may be original art illustration, created by the author, or a photograph). Entries will be judged based on the accuracy of information related to the object of focus, idea development and storytelling, organization and writing mechanics.