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The postcard as art -- and a snapshot of what once was
By Vincent Pierri | Daily Herald Staff

The first-place winner is a piece titled "Two Men Carrying a Burden" by Doug Travis of Indianapolis.


Courtesy Lake County Discovery Museum

The second-place winner is a piece titled "How She Landed" by Randee Ladden of Glenview.


Courtesy Lake County Discovery Museum

The third-place winner is a piece titled "Infinity" by Lana Carter of Vallejo, Calif.


Courtesy Lake County Discovery Museum

Winners and entrants in the Postcard Art Competition and Exhibition are on display at the Lake County Discovery Museum through Jan. 3.


Vincent Pierri | Staff Photographer

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Published: 11/11/2009 12:21 AM

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Historians may view it as a primitive form of Twitter.

Short and sweet messages, quickly written, to update, inform and delight.

Postcards aren't completely obsolete, but the little missives just aren't what they used to be.

But a community of history buffs and artists is determined to remind us of the importance and even beauty of the postcard.

Winners and entrants in the 2009 Postcard Art Competition and Exhibition are currently on display at the Lake County Discovery Museum near Wauconda. The event celebrates the postcard as art and as a visual document, said Museum Image Specialist Debra Gust. "The competition challenged artists create original art in a postcard format," she said.

Gust said competition rules required the pieces to be exactly 4 by 6 inches. "That is the standard size of the modern postcard," she explained.

The images were created in a variety of mediums such as watercolor, mixed media, collages and digital drawings. Themes include landscapes, street scenes and abstract designs among others.

The eighth biannual competition drew 483 entries and was judged this past summer. Gust said the two judges have a particular interest in postcards.

"Keith Sadler and Mike Williams came with a great knowledge of the history of postcards," Gust said.

Sadler has been collecting photographs, folk art and postcards for more than 25 years. His collection has been featured at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Williams is the author of "Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America." The book takes a historical look at the United States through personal snapshots found at flea markets and antique shops.

The Discovery Museum is also home to the Curt Teich Postcard Archives. It the largest public collection of postcards and related materials, according to museum officials. The archives were acquired from the Curt Teich Co. of Chicago. It was the one of the biggest postcard printers in the country.

The exhibit run through Jan. 3. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The Museum is at Lakewood Forest Preserve near Wauconda. The entrance and parking area are located on Route 176, just west of Fairfield Road.