Each submission to the Winter and Spring online editions of Élan are automatically entered into the Élan Magazine Art and Writing Contest.

One writing piece and one art piece are chosen by the judges. The winners are rewarded with a cash prize and recognition in the magazine, as well as their own copy of Élan.

2016-2017 Writing Judge:

Writing Judge PictureYvette Angelique Hyater-Adams, MA-TLA, is a poet and essayist and runs Narratives for Change, an “all things narrative” project-based business. Her current projects focus on teaching creative writing, facilitating personal leadership development programs, teaching scholar-practitioners autoethnography, and leading cultural activism as Southeast Regional Envoy for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC). Yvette has a rich history as a top executive in banking, CEO of two organizations, and as a multidisciplinary artist. Yvette earned an MA in Transformative Language Arts studying Creative Writing for Personal and Social Change at Goddard College and a Graduate Certificate studying Creative Writing at the University of Denver. Recent published work includes: “Kitchen Table Discussion on Transformative Language Arts” in Teaching Transformation (2017); “OD Consultants and Friends: A Narrative About Women and Race,” in The OD Practitioner Journal (2016); “Female Leadership: Girl Scouts and Girlhood Dreams,” in Anchor Magazine (2016); “Women’s Self-Leadership Through Transformative Narratives,” in Changing the World With Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader (2014), and a Haiku poem in Sonia Sanchez’s anthology, Peace is a Haiku Song (2013). In 2016, Yvette received The ArtsVentures award from the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida acknowledging her work as an essayist and poet and a grant toward her book project, and The Graduate Institute at Goddard College selected Yvette as Visiting Scholar where she presented her transformative narratives model and autoethnography writing-research method. Fuse Literary Agency in San Francisco represents Yvette’s work.

2016-2017 Art Judge:

Art Judge PictureHope McMath is the former director of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, where she combined her education in and passion for art history, education, and the creative process. She received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Jacksonville University and has 20 years of experience in creating, implementing, and assessing programs that reach tens of thousands of individuals annually. She was the long-time site director for VSA Arts Florida/Jacksonville and started several significant programs for children and adults with disabilities. During her tenure at the Cummer she led the organization through strategic planning, capital expansion, rebranding, and several significant community outreach initiatives. A Jacksonville native, Hope spends her time away from the museum traveling, gardening, volunteering, and living an artful life. Hope believes in the power of the arts and meaningful collaboration to transform individuals, uplift communities, and build a more inclusive world.

Our 2016-2017 writing contest winner: “I don’t know how this all works, all I know is that” by Olivia Ragan.

Read our interview with Olivia Ragan on the role writing plays in her life.

I don’t know how all this works, all i know is that

the e key on your crappy computer

doesn’t work anymore and the grapefruits

are molding. There’s yarn everywhere;

nobody should be allowed to die before


they finish their knitting projects. I’m

wearing the ice blue scarf, the one that

looks like winter. It’s spring now, but

just barely. I heard the wind chimes

last night. You always said that when


they start ringing you know it’s spring.

Maybe I should have learned all those

seasons ago that I can’t clean the microwave

alone and I don’t know how to cook for


fewer than two. It’s been raining for almost a

week. I know you tulips and the birds

will return, but filling the bird feeder was your

job. So was watering the irises and planting

the garden and all I know is that living things were your job.

Our 2016-2017 art contest winner: Maya Halko’s piece “4-for-1 Deal

Read our interview with Maya Halko on the role art has in her life.