Snap a picture, win a prize: Darien Arts Center hosts annual smartphone photo contest

DARIEN — Local amateur photographers with a smartphone and an artistic vision can put their picture-taking skills to the test in the Darien Arts Center’s annual “Pic Darien” 2022 photo contest.

Now in its seventh year, the contest will be open to entries until March 18. All photos must be taken with a smartphone but there is no criteria for composition beside that, said Emily Altman, the center’s visual arts director.

There will be multiple winning entries, with first-place finishers winning $100 cash prizes.

“We’re always looking to see how the community can show off their creativity,” Altman said. “It’s a way to capture an everyday moment and then see the creativity in that and share it with people, when otherwise it may just sit on your phone. You don't have to be a self-proclaimed photographer to participate and even win a prize.”

The 2021 contest garnered more than 400 entries from all ages, Altman said.

There are no age restrictions, though participants should enter either as a student, aged 17 and younger, or as an adult aged 18 and older. The fee to enter the contest is $10 per photo and multiple entries are permitted.

Photos should fall into one of eight broad categories: Nature and Floral, Family and Friends, Food and Drink, Abstract and Architecture, Landscapes, Seascapes, Travel, Pets. There will be two winning photos per category, one student and one adult.

Participants are not required to live in Darien and the photos do not need to be set in Darien. Eight local residents — including business owners and elected officials — will serve as judges. As in previous years, the contest will be judged blindly without the judges knowing the identity of the contestants.

“It's a pretty flexible, open contest,” Altman said. “We just want people to share their lives.”

The winning entries will be announced April 8 at

To find out more about contest submission and guidelines, visit or call 203-655-8683.