When you look at a work of art, where does it take your thoughts?

That question was answered this fall by 80 college and high school students in the Albany area. Those students competed in the Albany Museum of Art’s fifth annual “A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words” essay contest.

Each writer visited the museum and selected one of six designated art objects as inspiration for an essay, which could take any literary form as long as it did not exceed 1,000 words. The top three ranked essays and two honorable mentions were named in each division. A total of $1,000 in cash prizes was awarded to the top three essayists in each division at an October ceremony at the AMA.

“We were impressed by both the quality and the number of essays we received,” Annie Vanoteghem, director of education and public programming for the AMA, said. “We have some really talented, creative writers in our schools and colleges.”

In the college division, Alana Dapper, a student at Albany State University, won first place for “Looking Within,” an essay inspired by Jaime Bull’s “Beach Party” sculpture. The high school division winner was Marci Scardino, a student at Sherwood Christian Academy, for her essay “Penniless and Priceless,” inspired by Charles Wells’ “Equestrian Me.”

The objects that students were allowed to select from were:

— “Allegory of Bad Government” by Carrie Anne Baade of Florida State University, “Educators as Artists” exhibition;

— “Equestrian Me” by Charles Wells of Georgia Southwestern State University, “Educators as Artists”;

— “Beach Party” by Jaime Bull, “Figure Forward” exhibition;

— “The Creek VII” by Jill Frank, “Figure Forward”;

— “There Will Be Roses in Winter” by William Downs, “Figure Forward”;

— “Ontbijties Side A” by Michael Oliveri, “Fragments of a Violent World” exhibition.

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