Winners of annual wrapping paper contest are merry, bright and inspired

When designing wrapping paper, it's all about thinking outside the box. The more than 500 area kids who submitted entries to Weekend's annual Holiday Wrapping Paper Contest took that idea to heart.
By Christina Barron
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 18, 2009

When designing wrapping paper, it's all about thinking outside the box. The more than 500 area kids who submitted entries to Weekend's annual Holiday Wrapping Paper Contest took that idea to heart. Their artwork was creative, colorful and more interesting than what you might find at Target.

Aria Curameng, 12, of Fort Washington said it was a school club that inspired her to create a design of dolls and toys that took first place in the contest.

"I'm in Diversity Club at school, so I decided to do [culturally] diverse dolls and simple toys," said Aria, a sixth-grader at Oxon Hill Middle School in Prince George's County.

She said the design, made of construction paper, glue and layers of paper cutouts, took two to three weeks to complete.

"She loves to cut," said her mom, Anna. "Everything is on the floor."

The design impressed the judges for its multicultural theme, cheerful design and hand-crafted quality.

"It works as a wrapping paper, but it's a work of art," said judge Marty Barrick, The Post's senior design director of features.

Another judge, Michael O'Sullivan, who covers the arts for Weekend, agreed that the design stood out, praising its subtle theme of gift-giving. "There's also a great sense of composition and color," he said.

Judges chose a winner and two semifinalists in each of four age groups. The winning entry in each age category was posted at washingtonpost.com, where readers chose Aria's paper as the overall winner. To see the semifinalists' creations, turn to Page 26.

The judges picked Caitlyn Ling, 10, of Centreville as winner in the 9-to-10-year-old age group for her snowflake design. But Caitlyn's snowflakes are not your typical white, lacy ones: Hers look like cookies with gingerbread men and candy canes attached.

"I just didn't want to do normal snowflakes," said Caitlyn, a student at Greenbrier West Elementary School in Fairfax County.

Her imaginative approach charmed the judges with its "sense of wintry sky and the warm, homey baked goods," O'Sullivan said.


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