Carroll County Times

Uncorked: Maryland Wine Festival poster contest

The annual Maryland Wine Festival Poster Design Competition is now underway and Maryland artists older than 18 can submit their design for a chance to win $1,000.

Interested artists should mail their 18 by 24 inch, vertically oriented artwork to arrive at the Carroll County Farm Museum by 3 p.m. on March 14, or else drop it off by hand, according to Victoria Fowler, curator of the Farm Museum.


An entry form containing all of the rules for the contest is available online at

Fowler said a panel of five judges will review the submissions during the two weeks after the deadline and select the one, $1,000 prize winner, along with five runners up, each of whom will receive two free passes to the festival on Sept. 20 and 21. The winner will also be asked to attend at least one of the festival days in order to sign posters.


"We sometimes get 40 posters to choose from. We got about 38 last year," Fowler said. "It's really hard to judge the competitions because there are a lot of very artistic people."

Fowler said that any two dimensional medium is acceptable, so long as the artwork is original.

"A lot of the designs are mostly the computer-generated designs, though sometimes we get someone who has actually hand drawn a design," she said. "One year we did get a collage and we often get computer adjusted photography."

Sykesville-based artist and illustrator John Kachik won last year's competition - along with 2010, 2009 and 2006 - with a design built up from pencil sketches and finished with photo editing software.

"The image was a woman holding a basket with grapes and a bottle of wine. It's done in a style that looks like '40s and '50s type advertising illustrations," Kachik said. "I started with pencil sketches, then I inked the drawing and then scanned it. I assigned colors to the scanned ink sections and I used photoshop to color in the back."

According to Bonnie Hood, artists should keep in mind that each submission must include text specifying the name and location of the festival, as well as hours and contact information. It's also important that a submission look appealing and is easy to read in a number of formats.

"It can't be too busy. We look for something that will look good on a T-shirt, on a tote bag or in a small press ad," Hood said. "We really need something that will work as a marketing tool."

Kachik said that if there was on piece of advice he could give for other artists entering this year's competition - and he had not yet decided if we would enter - it would be to considering the overall effect of both image and type and how they will work together in different sizes.


"A lot of people don't really consider how the type becomes part of the image, part of the way the whole entire piece looks," he said. "You have to be an artist, but also a graphic designer and a marketing person to get what is happening."

According to Dottie Freeman, manager of the Farm Museum, the poster competition was inaugurated in 1990, the seventh year of the Maryland Wine Festival.

"There has been a poster for the festival since the beginning, but we began the contest and offering the $1,000 prize in 1990," Freeman said. "We have not changed the prize money since then, but it is still a good deal. It also gives you some promotion to the artists in the state of Maryland."

Freeman said the promoting artists, as well as vendors and other groups that partner with the Farm Museum and the Maryland Wine Festival, is important for adding the zest to the event that makes it more than just a wine tasting.

"The Maryland Wine Festival has become stable part of people's itineraries and we want to make sure we promote the arts part of that too," she said. "We want to incorporate things that add culture, that make it more of a festival and not just about wine."