“Stories of Addiction,” a new art and writing competition on campus, asks ACU students to creatively define addiction and offers cash prizes for first and second place.
Entries will be judged in two categories – art and writing. Art entries encompass drawings, photography, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and graphic design. Writing entries encompass poetry, short stories, videos of songs, slam poetry and short films. The first place winner of each category will receive $300 while the second place winners will receive $125.
The competition is connected to “Making Choices” week. “Making Choices” is a week of conversations on campus at the beginning of March that seeks to raise awareness of the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol, etc., and to encourage positive life choices in students.
Shannon Kaczmarek, associate director of Residence Life, helped develop the competition.
“This year we wanted to do something a little bit different. Instead of trying to reach a really broad audience on a more superficial level, to reach students on a deeper level even if that means we reach fewer of them,” Kaczmarek said.
The competition is asking students to define addiction in their own terms. Kaczmarek said the topic is meant to be open to the students’ interpretation.
“This is really asking our students to evaluate the topic of addiction-we are really wanting it to be open. What does it look like to be addicted to another person, social media, technology, cutting or self-harm?” Kaczmarek said.
The competition is an attempt to get students to think deeply about the topic of addiction. There are no requirements except that the pieces stick to the theme and students are mindful of ACU policies.
“We’re not trying to control people’s expressions of art, but at the same time we want for this to be something that is not super offensive to a lot of people,” Kaczmarek said of the guidelines.
Kaci St. John, director of Judicial Affairs, also helped develop the competition. St. John said she hopes “Stories of Addiction” will raise awareness among students.
“I’m hopeful that the students who choose to participate in the competition will see the value of their work translated to increased awareness of the dangers of alcohol and drug use, as well as the dangers of other potentially addictive behaviors,” St. John said.
St. John said she is grateful that ACU is committed to its students’ safety and will promote creative ideas to further educate students on such topics.
Bryson Travieso, sophomore English major from Abilene, affirms the idea of the competition.
“I think the competition is an effective method of storytelling. Creating art is a tried and true method by which we create representations of the greater human experience,” Travieso said.
Hannah Henderson, junior graphic design major from Tyler, is also interested in the competition.
“I think the concept is very intriguing and something that so many different types of students can participate in,” Henderson said. “I definitely have some ideas for pieces I would love to refine.”
“Stories of Addiction” is accepting entries online at firstname.lastname@example.org and also has a Facebook page where students can ask questions. All entries are due by March 4.