The Pierce County Library System celebrates 25 years of teen creativity with Our Own Expressions Teen Writing & Art Contest, which runs now through Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021.
Teen writers and artists in seventh through 12th grades, who live in or attend school in Pierce County, may enter the free contest, individually or as a team. They may enter in one or all four categories: poetry, short story, photography, and drawing.
Tacoma resident Bethany Maines was a teen in 1997 when she entered the inaugural contest. She had always been a creative writer although never considered pursuing it as a career. Maines placed third in the short story category and grew up to become a published author, illustrator, and graphic designer.
“This contest is one of the things that gave me the confidence to pursue writing more seriously,” Maines said. “Participating in the contest gave me the encouragement to keep pursuing writing and also gave me recognition in my own community.”
Maines went on to publish a collection of short stories based on her winning entry, titled “Tales from the City of Destiny.” Pierce County Library’s online e-books offer some of Maines’ books for check out.
“We love hearing the success stories from teens who went on to pursue more creative outlets and careers, as a result of the Our Own Expressions contest,” said Pierce County Library Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “A lot can be said about a teen when their writing and artistic talent is recognized and published. Congratulations to Bethany and the tens of thousands of teens who participated in the contest through the years!”
Students may get entry forms online. Teens may use mobile printing and Library Curbside to download and pick up printed copies of the entry forms. Students may submit entries online or by mail to Pierce County Library System, 3005 112th St. E., Tacoma, WA 98446-2215.
Judges will review writing entries based on originality, style, general presentation, grammar, spelling and evidence of skill appropriate for the writer’s age. Judges will review art entries based on composition, evidence of skill commensurate with the age of the artist, creativity and effective use of media. Published authors, professional artists and photographers select the final winning pieces.
The Library System will announce all of the winning entries in a special publication and distribute copies throughout Pierce County Libraries and to the winning students’ schools. The Pierce County Library Foundation will award cash prizes of $50 to $100 to winners in three age groups: seventh and eighth grade, ninth and 10th grade, and 11th and 12th grade in all four categories.
Contest winners will be announced and celebrated virtually in May.
Visit expressions.pcls.us for more information about the Our Own Expressions contest.