As part of the discovery process for the Catalyst Project, the Marlborough community hosted a “Discover Marlborough’s Hidden Treasures Photography Contest”. The purpose of the contest was to engage residents across the entire community in the process of sharing their vision and opinions, and to gather information about what they consider as existing community assets. In general, such a process will also spur mentorship and learning, and bind local businesses into ongoing partnerships, and should be encouraged and continued if at all possible.
Some things that were learned from the first contest were: The photo contest needed to be open for submissions for a much longer time, maybe even 3 months, and it provided a great opportunity that could have been better developed – to run a series of workshops/mentoring engagements involving walking around the neighborhoods with people and taking pictures with them. It would also be productive to make sure that businesses get to see the pictures that were taken the first time around, as well as the promotional materials that were used, so that they will be more encouraged to participate as sponsors next time.
Other possible contests could involve drawings or paintings of local landscapes, or portraits of residents, flag designs, poster designs, yard sign designs, T shirt designs, spoken word or written poetry, short stories, dance contests, music, crafts, jewelry and so on… The contests could be tied in to arts programming as it develops in the community, and would contribute to many of the intangible benefits of community arts that are described on the Arts and Social Services topic page such as:
- Reduction in school truancy
- Reduction in youth delinquency
- Reduction in teen pregnancy and social isolation
- Increase in civic engagement,
- Increase in population stability
- Increase in real estate value
- Increase in diversity
- Increase in cross cultural dialogue
Champions and their roles:
Charles Brown, photographer and business owner, was heavily involved in all aspects of the planning and implementation of this contest, and now has a good sense of what it would require to repeat this, or stage another kind of contest.
Bonnye Brown, visual artist and teacher, who is running arts programming at the Community Center, is always interested in contests and exhibitions that involve her students – and others.
Local businesses to help sponsor prizes.
Brian Dennis, Director of the Marlborough Community Center, may be willing to host shows of work by contest winners and help advertise.
Dr. Sharon Nibbelink and Dr. Stacey Heard King with Center School District can help connect kids with opportunities.
Community Coalition can help to get the word out via the business directory, Facebook page and newsletters.