BY KATIE MATTESON
Racine Art Museum’s 10th Annual International PEEPS® Art Competition opens Thursday, April 11 and runs through Sunday, April 28 – just in time to take away the last bit of winter doldrums and celebrate spring.
RAM’s PEEPS® competition curator Lisa Englander, who also serves at the museum’s principal of guest experience and retail division, said when she and her team imagined an art competition centered around the flavored marshmallow candy in the shapes of chicks, bunnies and other animals, they never thought it would blossum into a not-to-miss rite of spring with an international reputation.
The statistics tell the story:
- Over nine years, more than 30,000 visitors have come to see PEEPS® and an average of 25 local individuals and businesses sponsor the competition each year.
- There have been over 900 total artworks shown during the nine years of exhibitions. That’s an average of 100 pieces a year by 130 artists each spring.
- Since the beginning, over 800 artists have participated, which doesn’t include those who have entered multiple years.
- One artist has entered every year – that’s Patricia Roberson of Racine. Local artist Bill Reid has entered seven out of nine years.
- 46 artists have entered more than four times, seven have entered six times, 15 have entered 5 times and 22 have entered four times.
- About 50 percent of the artists have been from Racine, 7 percent from Kenosha, 4 percent from Milwaukee and 4 percent from Illinois.
- Entries have also come in from Tucson, Ariz., New York, N.Y., Rancho Mirage, Calif., Berkeley, Calif. and Pisgah Forest, N.C.In 2016, RAM started a partnership with Sew ‘n Save of Racine to encourage quilt makers to participate.
“It’s become a culty show.” Englander said. “And it literally gets bigger and better every year.”
It starts with a call to artists that’s open to all individuals, families and groups. Entry is free and only one entry is allowed per person/group. Categories are individual child (under 13), individual adult, family/group and organization.
Requirements for entries include some basic guidelines:
- Use any holiday variety of PEEPS®, or create your own representation
- No food materials other than PEEPS® will be accepted
- Entries must not have been previously exhibited at RAM or RAM’s Wustum Museum
- All works will be measured and must fit dimensions listed below, or they will not be exhibited:
- Two-dimensional works must be no larger than 24 inches high x 24 inches wide x 6 inches deep. Quilt squares must be 12 inches x 12 inches.
- Three-dimensional works must be no larger than 30 inches high x 16 inches wide x 16 inches deep.
- Three-dimensional pieces must be finished on all sides with no unfinished cardboard or newspaper showing.
- Two-dimensional pieces must have hanging wire. No saw tooth or bull dog clip hangers.
- Works may not promote for-profit businesses
- All the family friendly entries will be judged on creativity and the best use of PEEPS®.
“We can’t wait to see what people come up with each year,” Englander said. “We don’t designate a theme, but every year one seems to emerge as in 2016 when we had political entries and in 2012 we had a number of pieces inspired by the Olympics.”
Drop off dates were Thursday, March 21 through Sunday, March 31 and awards will be announced at the Artist Preview and Awards Ceremony on the evening of Wednesday, April 10.
And it’s not just the judges who get to pick their favorite, visitors to the exhibit each get to vote for the PEEPles Choice Award.
The PEEPS® exhibition is open during museum gallery hours, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and noon – 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the museum is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (age 62 and over) and students, free for children (limit 3) with adult and all active duty military personnel and veterans.
For more information about RAM or the PEEPS® exhibition, call (262) 638-8200 or visit ramart.org.