UPDATED MARCH 20, 2013: Read the New York Times' exciting coverage of our art contest here.

Attention High School Art Teachers: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square Announces Materials Matter Amazing Art Challenge for NYC Students

Grand Prize Winner Receives Trip to Orlando, Artwork Featured at Ripley’s Times Square, $1,500 in Prizes and Art Supplies.

Download the detailed prize list.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square has partnered with New York City Art Teachers Association / United Federation of Teachers (NYCATA/UFT) to challenge New York City area high school students to push the limits of their imagination to create outrageous and unconventional pieces of art.

“The Materials Matter Amazing Art Challenge is intended to expand students’ definition of art while allowing teachers to go beyond traditional lessons in the classroom,” said Michael Hirsch, president and general manager of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with NYCATA/UFT to support education and the hard working teachers who dedicate themselves to cultivating today’s youth.”

Launching October 14, 2012, students from participating NYC classrooms are encouraged to submit artwork that utilizes odd and bizarre materials or traditional materials in an innovative way. All entries must exemplify the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” standard of being unusual and/or unique. Believe It or Not! (BION) creations currently displayed at the museum include a gumball portrait of the president, clothing made out of egg beaters, statues constructed from car parts, and much more.

Submissions will be accepted from October 14, 2012 through April 5, 2013.  The competition will be narrowed down to six finalists.  The six finalists will then appear at a live event at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square in June where first, second, and third place prizes will be selected and awarded by a panel of NYCATA/UFT and Ripley’s Times Square judges. Judging criteria includes creativity, uniqueness, and consistency with the Ripley’s brand.

“Together with Ripley’s Times Square we are challenging the most creative and artistic minds that New York City high schools have to offer," added Joan Davidson, president of NYCATA/UFT. “We can’t wait to see how they put their imaginations to work to meet Ripley’s 'unusual' interpretation of art.”

All participating students will be recognized and one grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to Orlando to tour the Ripley’s warehouse, artwork showcased at Ripley’s Times Square Odditiorium, free class trip to Ripley’s Times Square (up to 40 students), commemorative Ripley’s “showcard”, artwork featured on the Ripley’s New York website and social media channels for a month, and potential purchase by Ripley Entertainment and inclusion in the annual Ripley Entertainment book. The school of the grand prize winning student will also receive a $1,500 grant for art supplies.

NYC art teachers who registered from October 14 to November 18, 2012, for their class to participate received two complimentary passes to Ripley’s Times Square Odditorium to explore the museum, and gather ideas and materials including lesson plans to incorporate the contest into their curriculum. Click here for Ripley's Art Lesson plan ideas and sample lesson plans.

Each student that submits an art entry will receive free admission to the Odditorium and a 40 percent discount for up to five guests.

The Materials Matter Amazing Art Challenge is open to high school students grade nine through 12 in the five New York City boroughs. Teachers must pre-register their class in order for students to participate.

To register your class or to submit artwork go to Otherwise teachers can contact Beth Sousa at 212.398.3133.



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