Contest guidelines

General Entry Guidelines

  • Postmark deadline for art entries is around Feb. 1 each year.
  • The deadline for electronic submissions and hand-delivered art entries is usually a few days after Feb. 1. See “How to enter” for more details about the current contest.
  • Individuals may submit up to four entries per category in every category.
  • All entries except traditional art should be sent electronically if at all possible.
  • Use the online submission manager.
  • The submitted files should be named the same as the entry title. For example, if a photo entry is titled “Sunset,” then the file should be called “Sunset,” NOT “Picture 3” or “IMG559.”
  • Each entry must be sent separately.
  • Email or call 417-455-5410 to make arrangements for hand-delivered art entries. See “How to enter” for more details.
  • Failure to meet all guidelines may result in automatic disqualification.
  • Entrants give their express permission that winning entries will be published in the magazine and may also be used for promotional and educational purposes.


Nonfiction: Essays, character sketches and other true-to-life writings should be limited to 1800 words.
Fiction: Clear plot development and well-defined characters are expected; also limit of 1800 words.
Poetry: Whether free verse, blank verse, rhymed or metered verse, poetry should make a point, state emotion, or relate an experience.
2D Traditional Media: Original paintings, drawings and hand-made prints including pen, pencil, woodcut, etching, screen print, charcoal, oil, colored pencil, pastels, water color, and acrylic creations, both black & white and color.
3D Art: Entries include but are not limited to pottery, ceramic, sculpture, assemblages, recycled materials and reliefs that protrude at least 1/8 inch off the surface Photographs of the art (front and side view required) may be uploaded online instead of bringing it in.
Digital Art: This graphic art category includes computer-generated art or extensively manipulated photographs in order to create special effects. Photography with only minor adjustments should be entered in one of the photography categories.
Black and White Photography: Entries may be reproduced from film or digital files with only minor corrections and adjustments.
Color Photography: Film or digital files that emphasize vibrant color reproduction are sought.
Carefully read the category descriptions to avoid miscategorizing. For example, graphic design should not be entered as 2D traditional media.

If there are only minor adjustments to a photograph such as corrections to exposure, white balance, color saturation, and cropping, it’s considered regular photography and should be entered in either the color or B&W photography category.

Otherwise, the digital art category is for a photograph has been extensively altered or art that was created on the computer. Below are hundreds of examples of photo manipulations and digitally created art:


High School: grades 9-12 in communities located within 100 miles of one of the Crowder campuses, which are located in Carthage, Cassville, Greenfield, Lamar, Monett, Neosho, Nevada, McDonald County, and Webb City.
Crowder students: currently enrolled students at one of the Crowder campuses
Community: adults, including Crowder faculty to avoid competition with students; community members should be located within 100 miles of any of the Crowder campuses.

Visual Arts: Artwork, photography, and digital art

 Digital art is extensively altered digital photographic images and computer-generated art.
 NEW CATEGORIES: 2D traditional media includes both black & white and color two-dimensional entries. 3D art has been added for three-dimensional entries. Photographs of 3D art may be submitted online.
 A model consent form must be submitted for photographic or art entries of live models.
 Art should be created based on real life (still life, landscape, or live model), memory, or imagination rather than copied from published materials. On the rare occasion that an artist alters a previous work of art, credit should be given. For example, an alteration of the Mona Lisa could be titled Mona Lisa’s Smile with source credit given to the original artist: The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. “Copy art” used as learning exercises will no longer be accepted as contest entries.
 2D media should be mounted, matted or placed in clear plastic sleeves for their protection. Please do not send entries in frames or with glass. Attach entry form to the front left-hand corner with single-sided tape.
 2D media may also be scanned with a high-quality scanner and sent digitally.
 All photography and digital art should be submitted online; see general guidelines.

Literature: Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction
 Whether free verse, blank verse, rhymed or metered verse, poetry should make a point, stat e
emotion, or relate an experience.
 Fictional writings should have clear plot development and well-defined characters. There is an
1800-word maximum.
 Character sketches and personal essays should make a statement, whether serious, dramatic, or humorous. There is an 1800-word maximum.
 All literature entries must be typed and double spaced; multiple pages should be numbered.
 Entries are not returned.
 Literature entries should be submitted through the online submission manager.



Scholarships available for high school gold winners

$500 scholarships are available to the high school gold winners for each category in the Crowder Quill literary/art contest. This one-time scholarship is for the top high school winner in each category: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, digital art, 2D art, and 3D art.

The scholarships are funded by individual departments (art and journalism) in order to nurture the talent presented during the Quill contest. Those winning students must enroll in one of the courses designated on the certificate to activate the scholarship. Currently, the eligible courses are as follows:

  • 2D, 3D, and digital art gold award winners: Art 103, 104, 106, 107, 110, 111, or 210
  • Literature and photography gold award winners: Comm 150 or 111

After the first semester, the department may elect to renew the scholarship if student has shown satisfactory progress in the discipline and has maintained a minimum gpa of 2.5. Students should inquire about renewing the scholarship through the appropriate department.

The award does not expire, but the award recipient should contact the journalism department ( for writing and photography scholarships or the art department ( for those categories prior to the semester of enrollment to complete a current scholarship form for the Admissions/Financial Aid offices.

The deadline for the contest/scholarship is Feb. 1 each year.

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