Announcing 2018 New Art Writers Contest prize winners!

As we head home to enjoy some quality food with family and friends, Artblog is proud to announce the cash prize winners and honorable mention recipients in this year’s New Art Writers Contest! Stay tuned for the articles, which we will publish in the coming weeks.

At Artblog we believe that publicly recognizing excellence and innovation in local art writing makes the entire Philadelphia cultural ecosystem stronger, and we consider the cash prizes a symbol of how seriously we take the work that art writers do. This year, due to the generosity of long-time Artblog supporter Mari Shaw, Artblog has established a special prize fund, which allows us to give our largest prizes ever!

Not only will our prize winners and honorable mention recipients be featured on Artblog in the coming weeks, they will also be included, along with a selection of winners and other notable entries from past contests, in the first-ever Best of the New Art Writing Contest anthology. You can pick up your copy of this in-print anthology, published with additional supported from a Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Project Stream grant, in 2019!

2018 New Art Writing Challenge Winners:

  • $1,000 Grand Prize Winner – Talia Gordon, “Chaim Soutine and I have never broken a bone”
  • $250 Second Prize Winner – Lane Speidel, “Time Travel”
  • $250 Second Prize Winner – Erin O’Malley, “Be the Cowboy: A Setlist”

Honorable Mention:

  • Laura Mays – “Putting the Jigsaw Together: Emily Bunker”
  • Andrea Dade – “Dear Philly Museums”
  • Janyce Glasper – “Noir Photography Exhibit”
  • Emma Catherine Roberts – “The Universe of Cauleen Smith”
  • Norman Dolph – “My Coffee with Duchamp”

A big “Thank You” to everyone who submitted, as well as to this year’s distinguished panel of judges: Carol Zou (Asian Arts Initiative), Alex F. Oehmke (BMoreArt) and Elisabeth Perez-Luna (WHYY).

—Roberta Fallon, Imani Roach, and Matt Kalasky


The New Art Writers Contest was co-founded by The St. Claire and Artblog in 2015 to encourage experimentation in local art writing and to bring undiscovered talent to the fore through a blind, democratic selection process. Now in its fourth year, the annual contest, which attracts writers of all ages and walks of life from across the region is still going strong. The reviews, poetry and a experimental essays that we received this cycle addressed a wide-range of topics, from major museum exhibitions to the aesthetics of everyday life. We are encouraged by the response and enthusiasm!

The best art criticism uses language creatively to help us navigate our complex (and often non-verbal) experiences of objects, images and bodies in motion. Recognizing that no experience is universal, it also empowers us to reflect on our individual histories, values and relationships to community. This year’s winners do all that and more. As in previous years, we hope the 2018 New Art Writing Challenge will be a springboard to other writing opportunities for these new and exciting voices.


"Praying Man" by Soutine. From Talia Gordon's winning piece "Chaim Soutine and I have never broken a bone". Photo courtesy of Talia Gordon.
“Praying Man” by Soutine. From Talia Gordon’s winning piece “Chaim Soutine and I have never broken a bone”. Photo courtesy of Talia Gordon.
Image from Lane Speidel's winning piece "Time Travel". Photo courtesy of Lane Speidel.
Image from Lane Speidel’s winning piece “Time Travel”. Photo courtesy of Lane Speidel.
Mitski at Union Transfer. From Erin O'Malley's winning piece "Be the Cowboy: A Setlist". Photo courtesy of Erin O'Malley
Mitski at Union Transfer. From Erin O’Malley’s winning piece “Be the Cowboy: A Setlist”. Photo courtesy of Erin O’Malley