Otero Junior College
2009 Otero Arts Festival

2015 Otero Arts Festival

Sponsored by OJC for 59 years!

It's Happening Again & You Are Invited!

The 59th annual Otero Arts Festival is set for March 31 – April 2, 2015 at McDivitt Center on the Otero Junior College campus. The Otero Arts Festival showcases creative writing, sculptures, pottery, paintings, drawings, and other works of art submitted by middle and high school students from throughout southeast Colorado. This year’s theme is The Art of Expression. The event will be open to the public on Tuesday, March 31 through Thursday, April 2. Exhibit is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. daily.

Begun as an art contest for elementary and secondary school students 59 years ago, the Otero Arts Festival is the longest running event for public school students that is continuing to be sponsored by the college. Over the past several years, the writing and art contests have drawn over 2,000 entries annually. The entries are showcased in the McDivitt Center gymnasium, filling the entire playing floor.

Debbie Phillips Events Coordinator

Questions? Contact:
Debbie Phillips
Events Coordinator:
Humanities 119
Phone: 719-384-6863

Meet the 2015 Otero Arts Festival Judges

Visual Art Judges To Be Announced

Seniors wishing to compete in the Senior Portfolio competition are encouraged to send in their Letters of Intent to exhibit. There is limited space available for portfolios. Emails to reserve a Senior Portfolio space will be accepted beginning March 1, 2015. To enter your senior portfolio email Debbie.Phillips@ojc.edu. All area students, grades 7-12, are encouraged to enter the Otero Arts Festival. Entries for the art contest will be accepted on Friday March 27th from 1-5 pm at the McDivitt Center Gym on the Otero Junior College campus. Students may have one entry for each medium/technique with a maximum of six entries total per student. Entries must be labeled and hung per the guidelines that are posted on the OJC website.

The art professionals who serve as jurors for the arts festival will award over 600 ribbons in a contest that annually draws over 2000 entries from middle school and high school artists of southeastern Colorado. They also choose the recipients of Best of Show High School and Middle School and Outstanding Senior Portfolio ribbons. Judging will take place on Saturday March 28th with public viewing of the art show to begin on Tuesday March 31 at 8 am. The exhibit will remain open to the public March 31 – April 2 from 8 am to 4 pm and then again at 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. There is no cost for admission to the exhibit. The public is invited to visit the exhibit and view the outstanding work the students.


2014 Otero Arts Festival Alysse Kathleen McCanna

Creative Writing

Returning judge, award winning poet and writer Alysse Kathleen McCanna will be judging the creative writing entries in the Creative Writing competition for the 59th Annual Otero Arts Festival to be held March 31 – April 2 at Otero Junior College. McCanna was honored with a first place award for her poetry entries by the Sixfold Poetry Winter 2013 contest.

McCanna, who currently lives in Pueblo, works for the Colorado State University-Pueblo History and Psychology Departments. McCanna graduated from Smith College in 2007 and is currently pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Writing and Literature at Bennington College in Vermont.

“I had such a wonderful time judging this contest last year – I would be more than happy to do so again!” said McCanna, “This creative writing contest is absolutely wonderful, I am be honored to be a judge.”

McCanna’s poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Southwestern American Literature, Pilgrimage, Eleventh Muse, Calliope, The Comstock Review, Poesia, Porcupine, and Wisconsin: People & Ideas, among others.

McCanna was recently named the winner of Sixfold’s winter poetry contest in December 2013. Sixfold is a collaborative journal published quarterly in January, April, July, and October, each issue is free to read online and downloadable at www.sixfold.org. Five of McCanna’s poems appear in the winter 2013 edition.

“Each year, I write 30 poems in 30 days in both April and November,” said McCanna “I spend my spare time writing, editing, and sending poems & manuscripts to contests & publishers.”

In 2010 McCanna was the winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Award (out of Telluride, CO), and placed third in the Women Who Write Annual Poetry Contest. In 2007 McCanna was awarded the Elizabeth Babcock Poetry Prize from Smith College, and in 2003 placed 2nd in the Harlan O. Roberson poetry contest from the Wisconsin Center of Academically Talented Youth.

Area students in grades 7-12 can enter the Creative Writing division of the Otero Arts Festival. Entries are accepted for the Creative Writing division through Friday, February 28. All poems, short stories, essays and creative books that are entered will be displayed in the Reading Room during the public viewing dates, March 31 – April 2.

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 a winning high school senior portfolio. High School seniors are encouraged to enter a poem, short story and essay in the Senior Portfolio creative writing competition. 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.

“This year’s competition will again show the depth and talent that exists in our area students,” said Phillips. “The committee for the Otero Arts Festival would like to invite the public to come and read these wonderful works” All Creative Writing entries will be on exhibit in the Reading Room March 31 – April 2 from 8am to 4pm and from 6:30pm to 8pm, admission is free to the exhibit.

Entries are currently being accepted by mail at Otero Arts Festival Creative Writing, 1802 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050 or by bringing entries to Humanities Center Room 119 by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 27. For complete creative writing guidelines and information:

(Click Here)


2014 Otero Arts Festival Winners

2014 Creative Writing Winners (153 Kb PDF file):     View Creative Writing Results!

2014 Visual Arts Winners (162 Kb PDF file):     View Visual Arts Results!

2013 Otero Arts Festival Winners

2013 Creative Writing Winners (226 Kb PDF file):     View Creative Writing Results!

2013 Visual Arts Winners (188 Kb PDF file):     View Visual Arts Results!

2012 Otero Arts Festival Winners

2012 Creative Writing Winners (210 Kb PDF file):     View Creative Writing Results!

2012 Visual Arts Winners (132 Kb PDF file):     View Visual Arts Results!

2009 Otero Arts Festival

2009 OAF festival

Otero Arts Festival Schedule

  • February 27, 2015
    —Creative Writing Entries Due by 5pm
    Humanities Center Room 105

  • March 13, 2015
    —Senior Portfolio letters of Intent Due by 5pm
    Humanities Center Room 105

  • March 27, 2015
    —Art Entries 1-5pm
    —Registration Deadline Theatrical Competition 1:00 pm
    McDivitt Center Gym


  • March 28, 2015
    —Judging 9am, Closed to Public

    • Ribbons to remain on display for public viewing during the week; the People’s Choice Award – both junior and senior high divisions – presented at the viewing and awards ceremony on Thursday evening.

  • April 1 - April 2, 2015
    —Public Viewing
    8:00 am - 3:00 pm
    & 6:30 - 8:00 pm

  • April 2, 2015
    —Open to Public
    6:30 pm
    —Awards Ceremony & removal
    7:00 - 8:30 pm

  • April 4, 2015
    —Theatrical Competition
    9:00 am
    —Ed Stafford Theater

2015 Otero Arts Festival General Information

Otero Arts Festival Schedule of Events:     View  OAF Schedule of Events

2012 Otero Arts Festival Important Information for Artists:     View  Art General Rules

Otero Arts Festival Medium Technique Sheet:     View  Medium/Technique List

Otero Arts Festival Entry Form:     View  Art Entry Form

Otero Arts Festival Senior Portfolio:     View  Senior Portfolio Entry

2015 Otero Arts Festival Important Information for Writers

Creative Writing Rules:     View  Creative Writing Rules

Creative Writing Book Format Rules:     View  Book Format Rules

Creative Writing Example:     View  Creative Write Example

Images from the 2007 OAF Festival

Register for the Otero Arts Festival. (PDF mail-in Entry Forms)

Click here OAF Entry Form!

Click here for Senior Portfolio!



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