PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Historical Society announces its second annual Young Writers Contest connected to the exhibition, “New Hampshire Folk Art: By the People, For the People,” at Discover Portsmouth.

“We had a great response to our first contest last year. It’s exciting to bring young people in to engage with a different exhibition this year to learn about art and history in yet another way. This summer kids will experience Folk Art that is both historic and contemporary,” says Claire Spollen, the society’s Education Coordinator who designed the contest.

“Last year, we received a beautiful thank you note from a contestant Marielle Merriam. She said, “I think the writing contest was a great way to get younger people into art and writing.“ Spollen quotes. “Nothing is more rewarding than allowing a young person to make that connection,” she added.

The contest is similar to the one last year, with prizes again provided by sponsors Summer Sessions and Flatbreads, as well as the Historical Society’s Museum Shop.

Participants choose a work of art from “New Hampshire Folk Art: By the People, For the People,” now on display in the main gallery at Discover Portsmouth. They spend time becoming familiar with their chosen artwork before writing a short piece about it--or inspired by it. Previous responses included poems, stories and plays. Other writing styles are also encouraged. The only contest rule is that the submitted writing must relate to the selected art piece.

Submissions will be divided into three groups --Grades 3 – 5, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12. Participants should indicate their grade level for the 2019-2020 school year. Paper entries may be mailed (see post office address below) or dropped off at Discover Portsmouth during open hours (9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily). Emailed entries should be sent to: Claire@portsmouthhistory.org. All entries must be submitted (and postmarked) by midnight on Saturday, September 21.

A panel of judges will read and evaluate each entry on its content, creativity, expression, clarity, quality, and connection to the original artwork. A first prize and honorable mention will be awarded in each division at a ceremony on Fri., September 27 at Discover Portsmouth. The exhibition closes on Sun., September 29.

“I love inspiring all age children, but especially those who are school-age,” Claire Spollen stated. “The joy is in watching kids engage with something they don’t think they understand but come to find out they do. The exercise of observing and then writing enables them to see in new ways and share their observations with their readers.”

Details on the contest can be found at https://portsmouthhistory.org/young-writers-contest-2019. Submissions should be mailed to: Claire Spollen, Young Writers Contest, Portsmouth Historical Society, PO Box 728, Portsmouth, NH 03802.




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