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Art Inspired Writing Challenge

Rock your creative skills and write a fictional story based on a work of art in The Rockwell collection. Submit your imagined story for a chance to win a prize from The Rockwell Museum Store and be featured on The Rockwell website and social media!

The Art Inspired Writing Challenge is presented in partnership with The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

  • Eligibility: The creative writing challenge is open to students grade K-12 in the United States.
  • Deadline: All submissions for the Art Inspired Writing Challenge must be received by Friday, April 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Announcement: Winners will be announced on Friday, May 15, 2020.
  • Prizes: Winners will receive one of the following prizes from the Museum Store.

Contest Guidelines 

1. Find your grade level and select one of the following prompts to answer:  Writing Challenge Prompts

2. Browse The Rockwell’s collection via eMuseum. Find an artwork that inspires you and suits your chosen writing prompt. Look for symbols and visual clues that will help answer questions and guide your story. Browse Collection 

3. Use your imagination to write a fictional story, poem or monologue – maximum 1000 words. Your writing should include:

  • Originality – Your writing should be unique and not copied from anyone or anywhere.
  • Imaginative Thinking – There are no limits to your narrative. Think outside the box and be creative in your scenes, characters and storyline. Your story can include aliens, imagined creatures, planets, and other realms of existence. Anything is possible!
  • Connection to the Selected Artwork – Make sure you reference the Rockwell collection artwork often in your writing. Include details from the picture, object or sculpture so that the connection is clear. Be inspired by the art!
  • Technical Skill – Your writing should use many, diverse adjectives to be as descriptive as possible. Spelling, grammar and punctuation should be checked before submitting.
  • Emergence of a Personal Voice – Aim to make your writing distinct with your personality. Be lively, inventive and unpredictable. Incorporate natural language, sensory details, action verbs, sentence variety, rhythm and varying sentence lengths. Make your story fun for the reader! 

4. Creative Bonus! Create a visual illustration to complement your story. Pictures of your illustrations (2D or 3D) can be submitted with your writing. This step is optional.

Draw, paint or use art supplies of your choice to illustrate your story once it’s complete.

Want to bring your story to life? Use these links for how-to guides to turn your story into a whole book.

Adapt this Smithsonian Learning Lab book construction to your story. Cut out a character or person from your story for this book creation. Instead of including a map, include a picture of the Rockwell collection artwork. Write a scene from your story in the book and reference different elements in the artwork.

 How to Submit 

Click here to submit your Art Inspired Writing Challenge

By electronically submitting your photograph, writing and artwork, you agree for The Rockwell Museum to publish your materials on the Museum website and online.


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