published Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Contest wraps up: 7-year-old pitches a winning wrapping paper design

  • photo
    Callan Williams is the 2013 winner of the Times Free Press Christmas Wrapping Paper Contest winner with her holiday character design.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
    enlarge photo

When her masterpiece was finished, Callan Williams was satisfied with everything about her penguins and snowmen on the ice blue background.

Except one of the penguins appeared to have a black eye. And that wouldn't do.

A quick trip to the store for a white marker took care of that minor flaw, and then the 7-year-old's entry in the Chattanooga Times Free Press Holiday Wrapping Paper Art Contest was complete.

Today, several weeks after she entered the contest, Callan's picture reigns as the 2013 winner.

The Thrasher Elementary School second-grader's winning design is pictured elsewhere in the Times Free Press as wrapping paper and is one of the options at Chattanooga's Kids on the Block gift wrapping stations at Hamilton Place mall from Dec. 8 to Dec. 24.

For winning, Callan receives an arts package and a goody bag from ArtsBuild and Kids on the Block and a cash prize of $25.

Her design and the other Top 10 entries, as selected by judges from ArtsBuild, Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Times Free Press, now will be displayed at the Creative Discovery Museum.

Contest judge Rodney Van Valkenburg of ArtsBuild says the expression of the holidays through visual arts, singing and drama is a long-standing tradition.

"The holiday season and the arts go together," he says. "The arts [promote] out-of-the-box thinking and creativity." It's always interesting how students "find new ways to express themselves."

Callan says a love of penguins and snowmen spurred her design, which was done all in markers. The red and green hats on the snowmen were "Christmas colors," she says.

Her process, she says, was to draw the penguins and snowmen in pencil first, then to fill in the blue background and then to color in the penguins and snowmen with felt-tip Crayola markers.

Callan's effort, according to parents Ames and Mary Williams, took about a week to complete.

The design beat out hundreds of others by children in grades 1-5 at area elementary schools, including the star-dominated entry by her sister, Britten, 9.

Contest judge Kelly Williams of Chattanooga's Kids on the Block says color is important in judging designs, and a small repeating design is a better choice for wrapping paper than one big design. Such a design, she says, should look as good on a big box as a small one.

"We're open to as much creativity as possible," she says.

Maddie Schaefer, a fifth-grader at St. Jude the Apostle School in Milwaukee, Grace Hixson, a third-grader at Westview Elementary School, Linen Cooper, a fifth-grader at Battle Academy, and Jaycee Holt, 9, of Boyd-Buchanan School were honorable mentions.

Cooper, whose entry of pastel stripes of light blue and pink that back a design of green and red paisley, candy canes, peppermint candies and tiny green stars, was the winner of the online Readers' Choice contest.

Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook. com/Clint-CooperCTFP.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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