The 64th annual Otero Arts Festival is set for March 30-April 1 at the McDivitt Center on the Otero Junior College campus. The Otero Arts Festival will showcase creative writing, visual arts, theatrical performances and instrumental music contestants for area students’ grades 7-12 from throughout southeast Colorado.  The Call for Entries in this year’s Creative Writing contest has been announced.
 
Area students are encouraged to enter the Creative Writing division of the Otero Arts Festival which features area students, grades 7-12, sharing what inspires their creative writing and makes their inspiration come to life.
 
Entries are being accepted for the Creative Writing division through Friday, March 6. All poems, short stories, essays and creative books that are entered will be displayed in the Reading Room during the public viewing dates, March 30-April 1.
 
Contest categories include:
Essay: may be on any topic, no more than 500 words and must include a title.
Short Story: may be on any topic and should demonstrate a strong sense of narration, description, and character development.  These are not to be autobiographical in nature. Limited to 1,000 words and must include a title.
Poetry: may be of any style, may be submitted in an artistic visual format, and must be titled and no more than 30 lines.  Patterning a poem directly on another poet’s style or format may be good practice, but an individual approach is always prized.
Senior Portfolio Competition, the senior student must exhibit as a group one each Essay, Short Story, and Poetry. Only one entry per category is allowed; but, seniors can now include writing completed during any of their high school years.  Senior Portfolio entries are limited to this group and do not compete at large.
Creative Book: For this option, high school students (9th-12th) may create a book of poetry, a short story or personal memoir.  However, these items cannot be submitted in the other categories of poetry, short story and essay too.  Students must submit book in the plastic folder but no 3-ring binders.  Book must include a title page, minimum is 8 pages of content and the maximum is 14 pages of content.  Pages must be 8 1/2 x 11 (a standard sheet of paper).  Illustrations need to be the original work of the student or non-copyrighted material, 25% of the book should be illustrated in some fashion.
 
Forms and detailed information about the Otero Arts Festival Creative Writing contests are available on the Otero Junior College website at: https://www.ojc.edu/about/newsevents/ojcevents/oteroarts/default.aspx. 
 
First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded in each of the three writing categories for grades 7 -12. A ribbon and $50 award will be given for Best Representative Writing in middle school and a ribbon and $50 award will be given for Best Representative Writing in high school.
 
The Creative Writing contest continues to feature the high school Senior Portfolio competition consisting of a poem, short story and essay. The winner of the Senior Portfolio creative writing division will be awarded a one-year, renewable, 12 credit hours of in-state tuition at the on campus rate scholarship to Otero Junior College.
 
Entries are currently being accepted by mail at Otero Arts Festival Creative Writing, 1802 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050 or by bringing entries the OJC Welcome Center, Macdonald Hall Room 110 by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 6.  For more information contact festival coordinator Debbie Phillips at debbie.phillips@ojc.edu.