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Otero Arts Festival

Otero Arts Festival at OJCSponsored by OJC for 64 years!

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.

The 64th annual Otero Arts Festival

March 30 - April 1, 2020
64th Otero Arts Festival Announces Revised Festival Entries

Debbie Phillips, coordinator for the event, explained that recent developments limiting large group gatherings created a challenge for organizers to figure out a way to comply with the restrictions while giving students the opportunity for recognition and scholarships.

“The Otero Arts Festival has been an important artistic and cultural event for our area schools for 64 years. It showcases the amazing talent our young students have and we felt that we had to find a way to continue this tradition of recognizing talent, as well as awarding some outstanding scholarships to award winner,” explained Phillips.




About Otero Arts Festival

64 years ago the Festival was started as an art contest for middle 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, art, music and theatrical contests have drawn over 2,000 entries annually.

2015 Otero Artes Festival

2020 Otero Arts Festival Guidelines 

Visual Arts

All area students, grades 7-12, are also encouraged to enter the Otero Arts Festival Visual Arts Competition. 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. Refer to the entry documents listed below for details.

Seniors wishing to compete in the Senior Portfolio competition are encouraged to complete the online registration to exhibit, as there is limited space available for portfolios. Deadline is Friday March 13th.

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 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

First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded in each of the three writing categories for grades 7 -12. A ribbon and award will be given for Best Representative Writing in middle school and 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, Macdonald Hall Room 110, 1802 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050 or by bringing entries to Macdonald Hall Room 110 by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 6th.

Instrumental Music Contest

The 64th Otero Arts Festival will again include a music contest to be held on Tuesday, March 31 at 6pm in Ed Stafford Theatre. Music was part of the original festivals until the 1970s. This will be our second year to bring back music. The purpose of the competition is to provide an opportunity for young musicians to demonstrate their musical talent and love for music. Ribbons will be awarded at each level of the competition with an OJC Scholarship being awarded to the top senior (grade 12 graduating high school senior) competitor.

Students can prepare a solo piece and/or a piece for small ensemble (3 -5 members) to be performed. Each member of a Small Ensemble MUST register register separately with the Title of Selection.

Note: Students may register through their school or independently, you do not have to be a current band student to enter.

Theatrical Competition

The Theatrical competition will be held on Monday, March 30th from 6pm to 9pm in the Ed Stafford Theatre, OJC Humanities Center. The purpose of the competition is to provide an opportunity for young thespians to demonstrate his/her acting talent and love for theater. Ribbons will be awarded at level of the competition with an OJC Scholarship being awarded to the top senior actor (grade 12 graduating high school senior).

Categories include:

  • Monologues - Works performed by one person only. No other actors will be permitted on stage, even if they are silent in the performance. Monologues will be limited to a maximum of 5 minutes.
  • Group Short Scenes - Selections can be from any genre. Group teams must have at least 2 and no more than 6 performers, and a maximum of 9 minutes in duration. Each member of a Group Short Scene MUST register separately with the same Title of Selection.

Note: Students may register through their school or independently, you do not have to be a current drama student to enter.


2020 Otero Arts Festival Winners