“Where is my book?! I ordered it over a week ago!”
Summer is upon us and most schools are now on vacation. For our company, this is the busy season as we check every entry before creating the layout of the books. We often receive calls asking why a book was not received since it was “ordered over a week ago”. The process of creating a professionally bound hard-back book is not as easy going to a copy center and pressing print. As a publisher, we work on making sure every student that gives permission is included in the book. We check every name to make sure they are spelled correctly. It is amazing how many parents and students give permission and their student’s name is spelled differently on the proofsheet and was not corrected. This occurs after the deadline as we have to wait for the mail to receive all permission forms. We then we work on the layout in creating the books. The books are then sent to a printer and binder to be put together. This last step takes almost a month to complete. The books are then sent media mail in order to have the lowest shipping for our customers.
While students are enjoying their vacation and teachers are getting their classrooms ready for next year, we are working to create books that you can be proud to share with family and friends. Thank you participating in our program and have a great summer.
I recently visited Washington DC and I took my family to the Smithsonian’s Art Galleries. I love art and I enjoy looking at art. When we left the Museum of Modern Art, my family also left more impressed with the art that is sent into our contests. From the tens of thousands of students who participate in our art contest, we have all kinds of art sent in. From modern abstract pieces to beautiful portraits. It is our job to trim the entries down to what we feel are the top 25%. It is not an easy task. However, having seen a large painting in the Modern Art Gallery where I wasn’t sure if a 20 foot by 20 foot plain orange canvas with a black line slashed across the middle had been vandalized or if it was put there on purpose, or looking at a canvas with what looked like a representation of a dry erase board that had math formulas partly erased, I also realized that once you are established as an artist you have credibility and anything goes.
I know if we had accepted similar art and published it in our books, I would have received letters from teachers and students asking me to justify printing bad art when other students had entered better pieces that were not accepted. I know art is subjective. Modern art is supposed to push things to the edge, but seeing much of what is displayed, it makes me appreciate every piece that is sent to us. Don’t get me wrong, I love modern art, but I also like to see art where I can feel the talent and struggle behind the art. Our books are a presentation of what our judges feel is good art. Not everyone will agree with our decisions. But we hope people will see the merit in what we chose for the publication.
For more information about our national art contests, please visit www.CelebratingArt.com.
In starting the art contest in 2010, we have learned a lot about issues that we did not think would arise. Each student is asked to send in an original work of art. But what does that exactly mean? We have many teachers who have their students enter collages with images that come from other sources. In these cases, the compilation of the images into an original form is the student’s creation. However, as the original images are not the students, we cannot have a contest winner or include in the book, an image that is copyrighted elsewhere.
We have also encountered students who will take a work such as “Starry Night” by Van Gogh and put their own interpretation onto the image. If the image is now in public domain, then this is allowed if the student gives the original artist credit. However, when an image is an exact copy then this is a greater challenge. When a student sees a painting and then tries to make an exact copy, the work of putting the paint to the canvas is done by the student, but the work or imagination in creating the work is not.
We cannot be aware of every image. Our official policy is that we love to see the work conceptualized by the student. A work in the public domain can act as a starting point, but we hope the student will take it from there and add their own style to the piece.
To learn more about our national art contests, please visit www.CelebratingArt.com.