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Pandemic safe and a bit silly: Arts Council challenge seeks to fill social void

Cabin fever is a common affliction during late winter, and after a year of pandemic limitations on top of it, this year the feeling of social claustrophobia might be worse than usual.

Homewood Arts Council wants to help. 

The organization is promoting the HAC Challenge, a pandemic-safe creative game/contest that will give local residents a chance to have fun and possibly win prizes. The game will begin Feb. 22.

HAC founder Greg Loudon said the virtual challenge game was proposed by board member Dawn Peloso.

To participate, people create a team of up to 10 people. HAC will announce three to four challenges each week that the teams will have to tackle. The game will last for about two months, and teams can take that long to complete most of the challenges, although a few might be more time-limited. 

Each round will include a variety of challenges, some just for fun, some art-based and some commercial, designed to help local businesses. There will also be a challenge involving the South Suburban Humane Society.

For example, an art challenge might be something like “recreate a famous painting like yourselves.” People might draw, paint or dress up and take photographs or video of themselves creating the scene of the famous painting.

A commercial challenge might be to visit a local restaurant and take a photo or video of team members eating there and talking about why they love the food or atmosphere.

“And then we got like silly ones, like the floor is lava, where you have to jump around your house on the furniture, you can’t touch the floor,” Loudon said. “We have a T-Rex challenge where you got to put your arms in your shirt and kind of like do something, you know, with T-Rex arms.”

Teams will need to use Goose Chase, a scavenger hunt app, to participate, but they will get extra points for posting their responses on social media, too.

There will be a fee of $25 per team, but two winning teams will receive prizes. The top prize will be a selection of gift certificates from sponsoring businesses. All the entry fee money will go toward prizes, so the more participation, the more lucrative the rewards will be.

Every team that finishes all the challenges will be entered in a drawing for a prize, and there will be a panel of judges to select the overall winner.

“The team who really goes above and beyond gets the big prize,” Loudon said. “We’re looking for like a really stupid looking trophy that we can give the winning team that they can be like the Stanley Cup. They could move it around and take pictures with it. That will be fun to have.”

The challenge is designed to be some compensation for the lack of social gatherings since the pandemic began. Homewood normally has festivals year-round that bring the community together, but most of them were cancelled in 2020 and early 2021, so HAC was seeking to find some way to fill the gap with fun.

Visit homewoodartscouncil.com or facebook.com/newhomewoodartscouncil for more information.

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