Entries for this year's Chinese New Year Art Contest on display at the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art in Memphis, Tennessee. The theme for this year's contest is "Enter the Dragon 2012." Winners will be chosen on Feb. 4 at the museum's annual Chinese New Year Family Day.
The Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art in Memphis, Tennessee, home to more than 600 pieces of art from China, Japan, and Korea, has its fair share of dragons, whether painted, carved, or embroidered. This month, however, the museum added more than a few new dragons to its collection, created by students from all over the county to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Divided into four categories for early primary, primary, middle, and high school students, the annual Chinese New Year art competition has been a Memphis tradition for the last eight years. This year, 124 entries were submitted for the contest from ten schools, more than double last year’s participation, according to museum director Belinda Fish. Each contestant entered a poster designed in an art style of their choice reflecting this year’s theme, “Enter the Dragon 2012.”
Entries will be on display at the Belz Museum until Feb. 4, when winners will be announced at the museum’s Chinese New Year Family Day. Local artists and notables including University of Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner have had the honor of judging the contest in recent years. In addition, visitors to the Belz Museum have the chance to cast their vote for the “People’s Choice” award for the best artwork in each category. Prizes for the contest winners include Memphis Grizzlies sports memorabilia, tickets to the Memphis Zoo and other attractions around town, and free Chinese lessons.
With over 400 tickets pre-sold for this year’s Family Day so far, the annual event is one of the most popular Chinese cultural festivals in the Mid-South. Co-sponsored and staffed by volunteers from the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, the festival will feature storytelling, dance, and folk art performances, a martial arts exhibition, and arts and crafts activities.
Founded in 1998, the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art (http://www.belzmuseum.org/) houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of Asian art in the southern region of the United States. More than 900 objects ranging in date from 202 BC to the early twentieth century include intricately carved jades and ivories, paintings, ceramics, textiles and funerary art. In addition to the Asian collection, the museum’s Judaica collection boasts key works from some of Israel’s most celebrated contemporary artists.