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Toys Set To Take Over Westport Arts Center

WESTPORT, Conn. – The Westport Arts Center will soon be transformed into a toyland for the upcoming exhibition "Toy Stories," a group show with artists who work with toys, toy production technology, animation and video games.

As part of the exhibition, which will run from Jan. 27 to March 18, the center is hosting a toy design contest for children ages 5 to 14. All submissions will be displayed on a monitor in the center's gallery during the exhibition, and on the center's website.

"Kids can submit up to three designs on paper for fun-to-play-with objects, be it an educational toy, action figure, product to play with outdoors, stuffed animal, doll series or animated mechanical robot," said Danielle Ogden, director of education at the arts center. "We encourage a maximum level of creativity, fantasy and imagination."

The competition will be judged by Melissa & Doug, local makers of educational toys. The first-place winner will have his or her design exhibited in the center's gallery for the last week of "Toy Stories," and will have a soft toy replicated by Child's Own Studio, a company specializing in custom-made soft toys. Second and third place winners will receive a toy gift basket, courtesy of Melissa & Doug.

Inspiration for the competition, Ogden said, came from the center's successful "Kid Kulture" exhibition last year, in which student photography was featured.

"We are thrilled to be running another competition where children's artwork is showcased and given the opportunity to shine," Ogden said. "We have already received a buzz and great interest from our community and are thrilled to see the level of creativity and imagination that the children produce."

Competition entries are due by Friday, Feb. 10. Details on how to apply are available on the Westport arts Center website.

"Toy Stories" will feature more than 30 artists, including: Miggs Burroughs, Jo Andres, Morton Bartlett, Nina Bentley, Janine Brown, Alexander Calder, Nick Cave, Peter Drake, Bethany Jean Fancher, Christian Faur, Laurence Hegarty, Dan Hernandez, Arcady Kotler, Dan Levinthal, D. Dominick Lombardi, Norma Minkowitz, Margaret Roleke, Cesar Santander, Larry Silver, Steven Skollar, Susan Wides and Michael Zansky.

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