Bearing Witness: Art Exhibit Winners

For this year’s One Read art exhibit, we asked artists from Mid-Missouri to submit works that that explore the experience of careful observation, investigation or the revelation of something previously unknown. We thank all of the contributing artists and we extend a special congratulations to the winners listed below. Thanks also to our judges for their careful consideration of the entries and for providing us with comments on the winning pieces.

You can view the entire exhibit virtually at

First Place
Ancestral Revelation
Sharyn Hyatt

Pastel and gouache
Judge’s comments: There is a real depth to this work. It reveals layers and encourages you to investigate. The shadowed, hard edge around the figure’s face suggests that something has been peeled away to reveal what’s underneath.
Ancestral Revelation Saryn Hyatt

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Mini Mystery Writing Contest

OR21-Mini-Mystery-Writing-Contest-Blog“It began with a bang.”
~ Casey Cep, “Furious Hours”

In “Furious Hours” author Casey Cep brings to life the complex tale of a serial killer, Harper Lee’s attempt to write a book about his crimes and the justice system in the deep South. Taking inspiration from the compelling true crime narrative created by Cep, we invite you to tell us a tale of another crime using the line “It began with a bang” as a springboard for — and the first sentence of — a mini mystery of your own. It could be based on a historic crime or completely imagined; it can tell of the crime itself or of its aftermath, but you must tell it in 250 words or less.

Starting September 1, entries may be submitted using this form, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and in the Columbia Missourian, and winners will receive a $25 book store gift card.

Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules. Read More

Bearing Witness: One Read Art Exhibit Call for Submissions

close-up of a person's eye with the words "Bearing Witness"

Bearing Witness
A One Read Art Exhibit
Orr Street Studios (106 Orr Street, Columbia and

“History isn’t what happens, but what gets written down.”

~Casey Cep, “Furious Hours”

Inspired by this year’s One Read book “Furious Hours,” we invite Mid-Missouri artists ages 16 and older to contribute works that explore the experience of careful observation, investigation or the revelation of something previously unknown.

Cash prizes will be awarded for three winners, sponsored by Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The third place winner will receive $50, second place $75 and first place $125 plus a one-year membership to the Columbia Art League.

The exhibit will take place September 1-24, and can be viewed in person at the September 3 First Friday reception or virtually at

Submission Details Read More

2021 One Read Winner: About “Furious Hours” by Casey Cep

About the Book

Furious Hours” is the stunning story of a serial killer and the book Harper Lee failed to publish about his crimes.


Part true crime narrative, part biography, “Furious Hours” documents the remarkable story of the 1970s-era Alabama serial killer Willie Maxwell, and Harper Lee’s attempt to write a book about his crimes, the justice system and racial politics in the deep South. Cep first tells the story of Maxwell, the mysterious deaths of several family members, accusations of voodoo and his dramatic murder at the funeral of his final alleged victim. Cep next dives deeply into the trial of Maxwell’s killer (which Harper Lee attended), Alabama politics and the insanity defense. Finally, Cep creates a portrait of a frustrated Lee, trying — and failing — to get to the truth behind the murders onto the page. The result is an extensively researched and immersive work of nonfiction. Read More