Otero Arts Festival

Sponsored by OJC for 61 years!

The 61st annual Otero Arts Festival is set for April 4th through April 6th at the 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 “Spirit of the Plains.” The event will be open to the public on Tuesday, April 4th through Thursday, April 6th.  Exhibit is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. daily.

61 years ago the Festival was started as an art contest for elementary and secondary school students to showcase their artistic talents. The Otero Arts Festival is one of the longest running events for public school students in Southeast Colorado, and has been continually sponsored by Otero Junior College. Over the past several years, the writing and art contests have drawn over 2,000 entries annually.



2017 Otero Arts Festival Winners

61st OAF Awards 2017


  • 2017 Guidelines Otero Arts Festival
 For Artist

    Visual Arts

    Seniors wishing to compete in the Senior Portfolio competition are encouraged to send in their Letters of Intent to exhibit, as there is limited space available for portfolios. Emails to reserve a Senior Portfolio space will be accepted beginning March 1, 2017 with a deadline of Friday March 17th.  To enter your senior portfolio email anne.taylor@ojc.edu.  All area students, grades 7-12, are also encouraged to enter the Otero Arts Festival. Entries for the art contest will be accepted on Friday March 31st 1 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 April 1st with public viewing of the art show to begin on Tuesday April 4 at 8 am. The exhibit will remain open to the public April 4 – April 6 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.


    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


  • 2017 Guidelines Otero Arts Festival
 Creative Writing Contest

    Creative Writing

    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, March 3. All poems, short stories, essays and creative books that are entered will be displayed in the Reading Room during the public viewing dates, April 4-April 6.

    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.

    Entries are currently being accepted by mail at Otero Arts Festival Creative Writing, Humanities 105 1802 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050 or by bringing entries to Humanities Center Room 105 by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 3rd.

    Otero Arts Festival Creative Writing Rules:

    View  Writing General Rules

    Creative Writing Book:

    Click for Creative Book Rules

    Creative Writing:

    Click for Writing Examples


  • 2016 Guidelines Otero Arts Festival
 Theatrical Competition

    Theatrical Competition

    The Theatrical Competition of the Arts Festival is a newer addition to the art show, started a few years back. The Theatrical Competition will take place on Saturday April 8th at 9am. The acting competition will consist of two categories, Monologues and Short Scenes. Participants may choose either dramatic or comic subject matter from a published theatrical script.

    Works from other forms such as poetry, fiction, film, video and song lyrics are not permitted. Since the competition focuses on acting, musical theatre selections will not be considered for participation.”

    The monologue competition is limited to a three minute presentation. Actors will be allowed one chair onstage for use in their monologues.  Actors may set the chair where they like or move it off the acting area.  Time will not begin until the first word or action that begins for their scene.

    The Short Scenes is the ensemble acting portion of the competition with a ten minute time limit.  Group scenes (2+ performers) may use up to 6 chairs and a table. The intended use of the table is as a table, not as a platform.  The ensemble may set the props where they like or move them off the acting area.  Time will not begin until the first word or action that begins their scene has been done. Only students from the same school or troupe may combine to enter the ensemble scenes.

    Students will begin by introducing themselves, identifying their school affiliation, and informing the judges of the source of their scene.  The timing for the scene begins after the introduction when the actual scene begins. A timer will be provided and actors will be stopped at three minutes for monologues and ten minutes for short scenes.  Actors will not be penalized for running out of time.

    The actors focus should be on the scene itself and the relationships among the characters so no costumes, theatrical makeup, or hand props are not allowed.

    Awards will be given for Best Actor and Best Ensemble.  Students may enter both the monologue and the short scene ensemble acting competitions, but may only appear in one scene in each category.

    All area students, grades 7-12, are encouraged to enter the Otero Arts Festival theatrical competition. Entries for the contest will be accepted on Friday, March 31st, via emails to Anne Taylor at anne.taylor@ojc.edu Entrants must submit the following information: student’s name(s), address, email, phone, teacher’s name, school, teacher’s email, category and title of entry.

    Judging will take place on Saturday, April 8 at 9am. The Ed Stafford Theatre opens at 9am with competition scheduled to begin at 10am.  OJC invites the community to support our area student actors by attending; there is no admission to attend the performances.  Awards ceremony will be held at the conclusion of the competition.

    Theatrical Competition:     

    View  Theatrical Competition Rules



Special Addition 2017

The Arts Festival will also be showcasing a special addition this year in commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the Festival. The committee is calling for entries of past students who have participated in the arts festival to submit one piece of art of any medium for public viewing. If you participated in the past we want to see what you did and also what award you received! If you would like to showcase your art please bring it to the McDivitt Center on Friday March 31st between 1-5pm. There will be no awards for these submissions but will simply be a remembrance of years past. Please only one piece per person.


2015 Otero Artes Festival