Our Own Expressions art and writing contest opens for Buckley students

Young Buckley writers and artists have an opportunity to show off their work in the annual Pierce County Library System Our Own Expressions Teen Writing & Art Contest.

The contest runs now through Sunday, Feb. 28. This is the 25th year the contest has been hosted by the library system.

Getting involved is easy, and free — all you need to do is live in Pierce County and be in grades 7 through 12. If you meet those qualifications, then you just need to head to www.piercecountylibrary.org/kids-teens/teens/expressions/Default.htm with your submissions to enter the contest online.

There are four categories you can enter: poetry, short story, photography, and drawing. Participants can enter one or all categories, but can only enter one piece of work per category. There are three age groups per category: 7th and 8th grade, 9th and 10th grade, and 11th and 12th grade.

For the poetry competition, applicants must keep their poems to 20 lines or less; for short stories, the word limit is 1,200 words.

For the photography and drawing competitions, applicants are instructed to submit a high-quality image of the original photograph or drawing — never the original.

“Judges will review writing entries based on originality, style, general presentation, grammar, spelling and evidence of skill appropriate for the writer’s age. Judges will review art entries based on composition, evidence of skill commensurate with the age of the artist, creativity and effective use of media,” a PCLS press release reads. “Published authors, professional artists and photographers select the final winning pieces.”

Winners, which will be announced in May, are awarded cash prizes — $100 for first place, $75 for second, and $50 for third.


If you’re stuck for ideas, or need some inspiration, PCLS is hosting writing, art, and inspiration jams to help applicants get their creative juices flowing.

These are “open sessions for all teen writers and artists to have a space to create freely, workshop ideas, hang out, and share,” PCLS’ website reads. “Receive prompts, get inspired, gain insight, and learn tips for preparing your entry of Pierce County Library’s Teen Writing and Art Contest Our Own Expressions.”

One writing jam, hosted via Zoom, is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 16, from 2 to 3 p.m. To register for the event, head to https://calendar.piercecountylibrary.org/event/4818900.

Two art jams are scheduled for 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4 and Feb. 18, and Wednesday, Feb. 24, on Instagram Live @pclteens.

Finally, an inspiration jam is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 4 to 4:30, also on Instagram Live @pclteens.