Snow may have recently fallen, but sure signs that spring may soon be upon us are the aisles of marshmallow Peeps candies popping up at local retailers.  Newport’s Library Arts Center is encouraging area residents to get creative with the bunny & chick-shaped sugar-coated marshmallows by using them to create dioramas for its first annual Peeps Diorama Contest, to take place on April 6th.  Similar contests have been sweeping the nation for nearly a decade, with popular contests hosted by urban news publications such as the Washington Post, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press and the Denver Post.  The Library Arts Center’s contest, however, is the first of its kind in the Upper Valley region. “It is exciting to bring a Peeps Diorama Contest to New Hampshire,” says Arts Center executive director Kate Niboli. “Too often, we forget that art is for everyone, and that art can be fun and even silly!  We hope people will join in and have some fun being creative.”

A creative diorama from the Washington Post's Peeps Diorama Contest.

People of all ages are invited to create a diorama of any size featuring Peeps bunnies and chicks as the characters.  For those in need of inspiration, a Google image search of “Peeps Diorama” will reveal dozens of ideas, and may even inspire a good laugh.  “Some of the ideas children, families, community members & artists have shared with me about what they might create for the competition have made me laugh out loud” says Niboli. “I cannot wait to see these witty and fun creations in the gallery.” Peeps may be melted, squished, and manipulated in other innovative ways to create unique dioramas with scenes inspired by recent news stories, celebrities, or books & movies.  Dioramas in other contests have depicted scenes such as the Chilean mine rescue, Occupy Wall Street, or the landing of Captain “Sully’s” US Airways flight on the Hudson River.  Others boast celebrities, past and present, such as Elvis Presley or Justin Beiber (also known in marshmallow-speak as Elvis “Peep”ley & Justin “Peep”er).  Others boast fictional characters from literature & cinema such as Harry Potter and Scarlett O’Hara, or even a Biblical reference to Moses declaring “Let my ‘peep’-le go!”  In case you were wondering, it seems there are an infinite number of puns on the word “peep”.

The deadline for entries is Friday, April 6th at 12:00 noon.  The entries will be displayed at a “Peeps Party” that evening in the Library Arts Center’s main gallery, from 5-6:30pm.  Refreshments will be served, and 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place prizes will be awarded, as well as a grand prize for “Best in Peeps.”  Prizes have been generously provided by Peeps & Company.  The dioramas will also be on display in the gallery Saturday, April 7th from 10am-2pm.  There is no entry fee, and the contest is open to all residents of New England.

The Library Arts Center is non-profit art gallery and studio located at 58 N. Main Street in Newport, New Hampshire.  The gallery is housed in the former carriage house of the historic mansion occupied by the Richards Free Library, across the street from the Newport Town Common.