Over 200 submissions were received for Westport Arts Center’s toy design competition for children ages 5 – 14 as part of its recent exhibition, “Toy Stories.” Taking top honors in the age 10 – 14 category was Ariel Sarullo, 14, of Redding, for his toy design, “Wubball.” First place winner in the age 6 – 9 category was Vincent Ohe, 8, of Fairfield, for “Beasts.” “I love inventing games and drawing,” said Vincent. “It’s a great honor to receive an award for something I spend a lot of my free time doing.”
Second and third place winners in the age 10 – 14 category were, respectively, Francis Ohe, 11, of Fairfield, for “Clockwork Commandos,” and Paige O’Brien, 11, Westport, for “Coloring Hair Straightener.” “I had so much fun coming up with the concept and design for Clockwork Commandos,” said Francis. “I hope to be a filmmaker someday so developing ideas is what I love to do.”
Second and third place winners in the age 6 – 9 group were, respectively, Rachel Zhu, 8, of New York, for “Piggy Bank Robit,” and Taylor Soyland, 9, Southport, for “March and Play Music Tiger.”
Local educational toy-makers, Melissa & Doug, served as judges for the competition. Melissa Bernstein, co-founder of Melissa & Doug, LLC, stated, "Having worked with toy designers for the past 20 years, I was amazed by the talent and creativity embodied in the young children of this community, and I continue to be impressed with the many ways the Westport Arts Center helps these children channel their creativity.”
The first place winners will have a soft toy replicated by Child’s Own Studio, a company specializing in custom-made soft toys. Second and third place winners received a toy gift basket, courtesy of Melissa & Doug and a gift certificate from Max’s Art Supplies in Westport.
Christy Ottaviano, mother of winners Vincent and Francis Ohe, said, “We are always encouraging our children in the arts and love to see opportunities for them to showcase their creative sides. It’s wonderful to have the Westport Arts Center in the community for educational development.”
The Westport Arts Center is a visual and performing arts organization dedicated to creating arts experiences that enrich the lives of area residents and the entire community. The Westport Arts Center is supported with funds from the Artur and Heida Hermanns Holde Foundation, Inc., Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Cohen and Wolf, P.C., the Connecticut Office of the Arts, 4th Row Films, Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation, Fairfield County Bank, Fairfield County Community Foundation, Gault, Inc., Greenwich Medical Skincare & Laser Spa, GWAY Marketing Gymnasium, Andrew J. & Christine C. Hall Foundation, Melissa & Doug, Mitchell's of Westport, Moffly Media, New Alliance Bank, Newman’s Own Foundation, Pepperidge Farm, Inc., Riverside Management Group, LLC, Robinson and Cole, LLP, Sun Hill Foundation, Thomas C. Hofstetter of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, Westport Resources, Westport Sunrise Rotary, Young Voices Program, Xerox Foundation, and WSHU Public Radio Group.
For more information, contact Westport Arts Center at (203) 222-7070, www.westportartscenter.org. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, 10 a.m. to 2p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., at 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT.
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