Words on Canvas, 2020-2021 Writing Competition

This year’s Words on Canvas competition highlights works from Breaking the Frame: Women Artists in the Harn Collections. Marking the Harn’s 30th Anniversary, the installation celebrates the growth of its collection of work by important women artists. Breaking the Frame aligns itself with the 100th Anniversary of women’s suffrage. That victory didn’t secure voting rights for all, so the battle continues until all women are heard and counted. The exhibition reflects the museum’s robust effort since 2012 to enhance its representation of women artists’ works and includes a number of recent acquisitions. 


Words on Canvas is a writing competition at the Harn Museum of Art for college students interested in engaging museumgoers by writing poetry or prose inspired by works of art. All currently enrolled students from the University of Florida or Santa Fe College are eligible to submit. Prizes will be awarded for winning submissions.


How to Participate 

Choose your Words on Canvas subject from the selection of works that will be on view at the Harn Museum throughout the competition. 



  • Prose submissions should be no longer than 1,000 words and may be fiction or non-fiction.
  • Poetry submissions may be up to 30 lines long and need not be rhyming or metered.
  • Each submission should relate to the art that inspired it and should be appropriate for a broad museum-going audience.
  • You can write in any language, but must provide an accompanying English language translation.

Do not forget to revise your work before submitting.


Important Dates:

Sunday, February 21, 2021 – All works must be submitted by 11:59 PM
Thursday, March 25, 2021 – Winning submissions will be announced by email
Thursday, April 8, 2021 – Awards showcase will be held during Museum Nights 


Writing Tips:  

Give your chosen work a close look: What story lies behind the image? What feelings does the piece awaken in you? What do you see that no one may have seen before? Let the art speak to you, and then let your ideas flow onto the page! Please remember to revise before submitting so that your writing shines. 

Through your writing, Words on Canvas will offer new ways of seeing and reading the Harn’s collections. We’re looking forward to your art-inspired words! For more information, contact wordsoncanvas@harn.ufl.edu.

Select ONE work of art below that your submission is based on then post your submission here!


Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled (from the series Constructing History), 2008

Karen Glaser, Edge of Orange Silk, 2006


Tsuboi Asuka, Ancient Skirt, 2017


Jane Webb Loudon, 46 Datura Tatula, 1840



Sachiko Fujino, Untitled (Pearl Folds), 2006


Makonde people, Water Pot (chilongo chakumoto), 20th century

Maguerite Zorach, New England Farm, c. 1918


Graciela Iturbide, Mexican, b. 1942



Doris Lee, Florida Vacation, c. 1944


Rania Matar, Ruth, Boston, Massachusetts, 2020, 2020

Guerrilla Girls, Guerrilla Girls' Pop Quiz, 1990


Kathe Kolwitz, Mutter (Mothers), 1919



Anne Noggle, Myself as a Pilot, 1982


Okuhara Seiko, Winter Landscape with Crows, c. 1865

Rania Matar, Jen and Robbie, Cambridge, Massachusettes, 2020, 2020

Louise Nevelson, Essence #9, 1997



Deana Lawson, Coulson Family, 2008









Aphrodite Desiree Navab, I Am Not a Persian Carpet, 2001

Kara Walker, Resurrection Story without Patrons, 2017

Beauty Ngxongo, Lidded Basket, 2005


Rania Matar, Elyse, Worcester, Massachusetts, 2020, 2020

Esther Bubley, Untitled, 1949


Indian, Bihar, Mithila, Rama and Sita, mid-20th century

Anita Huffington, Kore, 1991



Dianora Niccolini, Leaping Kenny, 1982


Bisrat Shibabaw, Moonlight Sonata, 2004-2006


Rania Matar, Minty, Kayla, Leyah, Layla, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2020, 2020

Toshiko Takaezu, Small Moon, 1980s