Arizona’s first annual student art competition celebrated the vision and artistic talent of our state’s students. The theme, 100 Years of Art and Education, encouraged Arizona’s young minds to comment on the past, present, and future directions of the state. Public, private, charter, alternative and tribal school students K–12 submitted paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and mixed media artworks interpreting the changing nature of Arizona’s natural and social landscapes. The competition is part of Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal’s American Heritage—Arizona Centennial Initiative.
Grand Prize Winners
Four divisions grouped submissions by age (K–3, 4–6, 7–8, 9–12). Judges considered four criteria: originality, artistic quality, use of color, and how the theme was approached. The accompanying artists’ statements offer insightful commentary on current events and future challenges from the perspective of Arizona’s next generation.
Fourteen winners were chosen from the entries. Fourth grader Caylie L. Reese and senior Sara Wang each collected $1,000 in grand prize money split between the artist and the artist’s school.
“I would like to commend our winners for these outstanding examples of art inspired by Arizona’s rich cultural diversity and history as a state,” said Superintendent Huppenthal. “I can think of no better way to celebrate Arizona’s Centennial than by highlighting the beauty and splendor of our great state as seen through the eyes of our students—which I would argue are our state’s greatest resource.”
The student artwork adorned Arizona Department of Education (AZDOE) buildings through May 1, 2012. The artwork beautified the facilities while reminding the Department of Education that students are always its ultimate end customer. Merle Bianchi, AZDOE Chief of Staff indicated that these reasons were the impetus behind the competition. Bianchi, herself an artist, wanted student artwork to enhance the Department’s work environment and to keep employees in touch with the students and the communities whom the AZDOE serves as public servants.
Development of next year’s competition is already underway.