By the letter: Library seeks art for alphabet

SPRINGFIELD — If you live in Springfield or rural East Lane County, you have the chance to commemorate your city through art in the Springfield A-Z Art Contest, even if you’re not an artist. 

“Everyone can participate. We’re celebrating both contemporary Springfield, historical Springfield and the Springfield from before what we have in the museum,” explained Taylor Worley, the youth services librarian at Springfield History Museum. 

The museum is collaborating with the Springfield Public Library on this all-ages art contest and entries are welcomed now through 4 p.m. on July 31. The end goal of the project is to create an alphabet book of Springfield that celebrates all cultures and people of the city. 

The book will be bilingual in English and Spanish, and all entries can correspond with English, Spanish, and Latin alphabets. The Youth Services Librarian, Taylor Worley, explained that if you were to create artwork on hazelnuts, you could submit your piece under ‘H’ for English, ‘F’ for Latin (filbert), or ‘A’ for Spanish (avellana). 

“When we put together the book, there will be a spread for each letter. For example, under ‘A’ all of the arts and artifacts on the page will have the letter ‘A,’” Worley said. She predicts that the level ‘T’ will be filled with art dedicated to Thurston. 

Curator of the museum, Maddi McGraw, added, “What we’re envisioning is you open it up, you see the artwork for the letters, as well as historic artifacts and photos that correspond with them.” 

While the museum and library have been one department since 2017 and have worked together in the past on small projects, this is their biggest one yet. They anticipate the book will be published in early 2022, and print copies will be available for purchase from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, the museum gift shop, and a few other select places. Every contest winner will receive a copy. 

“We’re really excited and we want the people of Springfield to be really excited too,” McGraw said. 

Although it is an art contest, McGraw and Worley encourage Springfielders not to let the word “contest” intimidate them from entering. 

“We aren’t necessarily looking for the most skillfully executed painting. Our rubric is based on creativity and how much it speaks to Springfield,” said Worley. “We want things that are from a wide variety of perspectives, skills, levels, languages and backgrounds, so don’t be scared to enter. 

Because the artwork will be going in an 11×7 book, McGraw and Worley suggest that it be as 2-D as possible. The artwork will have to be scanned to go in the book, so 3-D sculptures will not be accepted. 

However, that does not mean that only paintings and drawings are wanted. The contest will be rewarding a wide range of art, from embroidery to tile mosaic to macaroni, so this is an opportunity for Springfielders to get creative. 

“We want each page to open up and say Springfield,” said Worley. “We want people to get a warm, fuzzy feeling when they open this book. Not just because their grandkid won, but because it also commemorates the community. It’ll be like a time capsule,” Worley said. 

“It’s a community capsule,” added McGraw. 

Winners of the Springfield A-Z Alphabet Book will be announced Aug. 31. 



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