A fixture in Indianapolis and the Fountain Square neighborhood since 1994, Masterpiece in a Day is a one day, site-specific, visual art and writing competition. Participants create works of art and winners are chosen by a panel of judges for each category. 

Want to Participate?

Before you begin to set up shop for the day, make sure to register the day of at 924 Shelby Street. Registration begins at 9am and closes by 11am. You can begin your masterpiece as soon as you have registered but must be complete by 3pm for judging.

Writing Contest

Welcome to Fountain Square and Masterpiece in a Day. We hope the energy of the event will fuel your creative spirit. I know we’re hungry for great writing! This year we will have a PROSE contest and a POETRY contest! You may enter one or both.

If you have any questions, please contact: Will Bain at williambain.echo@gmail.com. 

Contest Details:

Prizes: Three awards will be given for each category (PROSE and POETRY). 1st prize will be $300, 2nd prize will be $150, and 3rd prize will be $50. Contestants must be at the award ceremony to claim their prizes. The top three pieces in each category will be published in Punchnel’s literary magazine. Honorable mentions may also be published.

Theme & Subject: On the morning of the show, three elements will be chosen at random. Writers must embrace and incorporate these three elements into their prose. Part of the judging process will look at how much significance the elements play in the piece. Someone who merely mentions an element in passing will receive a lower score than someone who makes the element an integral part of their piece. 

Entry: Entries must be limited to less than 1000 words of PROSE or 40 lines of POETRY.  Computers/printers will be available (901 Shelby Street and at the library), but writers are encouraged to bring their own laptops if possible. All work must be revised into legible typed form. Writing must be completed during the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Fountain Square area. Writers must submit two printed copies before 3:00 p.m. More formatting information will be provided on the day of the show.

Judging: Writers will be judged on uniqueness of subject matter, general quality of writing, and incorporation of the chance elements. Names will not appear on contestants’ pieces so as to assure objectivity by the judges. 

Visual Art

Entrants must 18 years old or older to compete and win prizes. Schedule: 9:00am – 11:00am, Art Competition Check-In at 924 South Shelby Street (across from Arthur’s Music store)

9:00 Art Competition Begins

3:00 Art Competition Ends

3:30 Doors locked and judging begins

3:30 – 5:00 Judging

6:00 Awards Ceremony at Fountain Plaza at Virginia & Prospect

Premise: Artists will spend the day outside in Fountain Square creating a work of art from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. At 3 p.m. the artwork will be submitted for judging.

Subject: No restrictions other than it must be appropriate for public presentation; Masterpiece in a Day is a family-friendly event.

*2 Dimensional –Includes painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and most textiles. These entries are primarily on a flat plane.

*3 Dimensional – Sculptures and entries that occupy space and are intended to be viewed from multiple angles. These entries are not intended to be site specific. These items must be delivered to the judging area.

1st Prize $1000

2nd Prize $500

3rd Prize $250

*No “site required” installations

Kid's Category

12 & Under will receive a participation certificate.

13-17 The top three judged participants will receive an art supply kit valued at $25

The prize winning pieces will become the property of the Fountain Square Arts Council.

Entry: All entrants must sign in the day of the competition. Work must be completed in Fountain Square between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and must be submitted no later than 3:30 p.m. All artists must transport their work to the judging site.

Judging: Winners will be selected by a panel of three judges. Display: Winning entries will be placed on public display – location TBD. Fountain Square Arts Council will photograph and publish all works selected, and retains the right to display or sell copies of these works, and to use them for promotional purposes. Proceeds from the sale will fund subsequent years’ Masterpiece in a Day activities.


Fountain Square Arts Council 2017