Four winning entries in Art Inspires short-story contest focus on works in decorative arts collection

In May 2020, NOMA’s learning and engagement department established an “Art Inspires” short story competition that asked contestants to craft a fictional tale based on selections from the museum’s permanent collection of decorative arts. Three winning stories from the adult category and one from the youth age range are featured in the links below. Awards included a Friends & Family Museum Membership for the grand prizewinner, free family admission passes for the additional winners in the adult category, and an assortment of fun items from the Museum Shop for the winning youth author.


Russel Wright (American, 1904–1976), “Saturn” punch service, c. 1935, Spun aluminum with lacquered wood handles, 12 x 20 in., Museum purchase, William McDonald Boles and Eva Carol Boles Fund, 2017.200.a-.o.

Grand Prize Winner – Adult Category

“Saturn” by Katy Simpson Smith


Image of ceramic vase by artist Peter Voulkos

Peter Voulkos (American, 1924–2002), Big Ed, 1994, Museum purchase with funds donated by E. John Bullard in memory of Robert H. Cousins, 2016.59, © Voulkos Family Trust

Winning Entry – Adult Category

“Big Ed” by Samantha O’Connell



Jose Alves da Cunha (Portuguese, active late 19th century), “Palissy ware” Plate with Octopus, c. 1870–1887, Glazed earthenware, Gift of Brooke Hayward Duchin, 97.766

Winning Entry – Adult Category

“The Tentacles of Love” by Parvathy Anantnarayan



Tiffany Studios (American, Corona, New York, 1902–1932), “Morning glory” Vase, c. 1915 Glass Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Prescott N. Dunbar, 91.568

Winning Entry – Youth Category

“To My Beloved” by Colette Bu