Austin Schools Host Chinese Calligraphy Contest


Nine high schools from around Central Austin have come together to host their first annual Chinese Calligraphy Contest. The contest is open to all students who are interested in Chinese calligraphy or culture, so current enrollment in a Chinese course is not required.

“We rarely have the time to see the meaning Chinese characters hold,” Angela Zhang ‘19 said. “Doing calligraphy gives you that opportunity to appreciate the beauty of character writing.”

Chinese calligraphy, or “shūfǎ” ( 书法 ), is regarded an art in China and, according to the Chinese Professional Learning Committee, is “an important aspect of Chinese culture [that] combines art and emotion with meaning.”

“The main purpose of this contest is to stimulate students’ interest in daily writing and penmanship, thereby effectively improving the overall writing quality,” Westwood’s Chinese teacher and local administrator for the contest Helen Wang, said. “At the same time, the calligraphy contest can also be used as an opportunity for students to better understand the traditional Chinese fine arts and culture.”

The competition is split into the categories of Pen/Pencil, which will be testing contestants on their ability to reproduce their choice of a Chinese poem from a given list, and Brush Calligraphy, which requires the contestants to write out a famous Chinese saying from a selection of phrases. The students must provide their own brushes and ink if they are enrolling in the Brush competition, but the Pen/Pencil competition materials will be provided by the schools. The Chinese Professional Learning Committee encourages students to enroll in both competitions.

“Participation is the most important [aspect of the competition],” Ms. Wang said. “I personally want this competition to be an opportunity that allows and encourages students to try their best not only in this contest, but also in their daily writing. I have been encouraging [my] students to pay attention on their penmanship since the first day of my teaching.”

Once the entries are submitted, each piece will undergo a similar judging process. Judging is split into three portions: 40% of the scoring comes from votes from your school staff and students through a QR code scan, 30% come from votes by Chinese Teachers and the remaining 30% is decided by Calligraphy experts.

I think the biggest struggle or obstacle will be on the judge’s side,” Ms. Wang said. “As a teacher, I have seen many [of my] students’ writing and I imagine that if the students sit down and write without hurry, these pieces of work are going to be art.”

Awards for the calligraphy competition will be presented during the Chinese New Year Celebration.

“The calligraphy contest is [only] one of the activities [the committee has] put into action,” said Ms. Wang. “Next year, we will have more culture related activities, such as the Chinese New Year Celebration, which is scheduled in late January.”

If interested, here is where you can find registration and more information about the contest. Registration ends Dec. 10.