January 11, 2009
HELENA-WEST HELENA -- The Delta Cultural Center’s highly-popular annual poster competition for young area artists is once again underway.
The Blues Heritage Youth Art Contest, co-sponsored by the DCC and the Pillow Clinic in Helena-West Helena, encourages the artistic endeavors of Delta youths and stimulates their interest in the cultural attributes of the Delta. For this year’s contest, the youthful competitors are asked to focus their energies and imaginations on the theme of “Roots of the Blues” and send the resulting images to the DCC in Helena this spring. Entries will be judged and an exhibition and reception will be held in conjunction with Helena’s well-known Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival in October 2009.
“The DCC re-instituted its art contest in 2008 after a pause for several years, and we were staggered by the renewed interest it immediately drew,” said Jack Myers, DCC educational coordinator. “We’re starting this season with great anticipation. We’ve sat down with Dr. Ned Pillow of the Pillow Clinic, which is generously providing cash awards for our winning artists, and we believe the contest is going to be more appealing and will draw an even greater response for 2009.”
The Pillow Clinic, indeed, has increased its financial contribution from 2008. While artists and their instructors last year competed for a total of $475 in cash awards, in 2009 they will be eligible for a total of $800, Myers explained.
“We are so thankful to the Pillow Clinic for recognizing the success of the program, as well as the need to stimulate it and see it grow further,” Myers said, explaining that the DCC would increase its marketing of the contest to aid it in making further inroads across Arkansas and into Mississippi. “This year will be even better with additional selections, more prize money, and higher teacher incentives,” he noted.
In 2009, the elementary (kindergarten through fifth grade) winner will receive $60; the middle school (sixth through ninth grade) winner is awarded $100; and a $250 cash award is presented to the high school (sophomore through senior) winner. In addition, two merit awards of $20 will be presented to students in each division. Teachers of the first place award winner in each division will receive $50 to aid classroom instruction; the teacher of each merit award winner will received $20.
Even with the increase, Myers emphasized that the benefits to the students and their schools go beyond the cash prizes.
“Our marketing campaign will include poster reproduction of winning artwork, as well as news releases, and a reception and exhibit to be held in conjunction with the 2009 Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival,” he said.
This contest will be open to all area public and private schools, as well as home-schoolers. Student artists are asked to create a piece of artwork on posterboard, art paper, or canvas no larger than a standard posterboard. The medium utilized will be the artist’s choice. The name of artists, their ages, grade levels, school district, their teacher, and town of residency should be recorded in typed script on the back of their artwork.
The theme, “Roots of the Blues,” suggests the origins of blues music in the Mississippi River Delta, as well as the agricultural environment in which the music evolved, Myers pointed out.
The deadline for entries is May 1, 2009. The art will be judged in June 2009, and school districts will be informed of winning entries. Selected entries will be exhibited at the Delta Cultural Center in October 2009. Winning student artists will be encouraged to attend a reception to be held during that time at which the Pillow Clinic will present cash awards.
“Dr. Ned Pillow and the Pillow Clinic take a genuine interest in the Delta and its young people and are excited to participate in project that aids the talented, gifted youths with whom they come in contact on a daily basis,” Myers said.
Student artwork in the competition becomes the property of the DCC.
In 2008, the Blues Heritage Youth Art Competition winners included Madison Shannon Palmer High School student Marenda Figgs of Lambert, Miss., in the senior high division; Cross County High School student Cheyenne Lovrien of Cherry Valley in the sixth through ninth grade division; and Faulk Elementary School student Gregory Miller of West Memphis for the elementary school division. MSPHS instructor Mackenzie Stroh, David Early of CCHS, and FES teacher Shannon Murrah were also awarded to aid classroom instruction.
Gallery hours at the DCC Visitors Center at 141 Cherry Street and the nearby DCC Depot at 95 Missouri Street are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. “King Biscuit Time,” the nation’s longest-running blues radio program, is hosted each weekday at the DCC Visitor’s Center by “Sunshine” Sonny Payne, from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. “Delta Sounds,” hosted by DCC Assistant Director Terry Buckalew and Payne, is broadcast each Friday at 1 to 1:30 p.m.
For more information, interested persons can call the Delta Cultural Center at (870) 338-4350 or toll free at (800) 358-0972 or visit the DCC online at www.deltaculturalcenter.com.
The Delta Cultural Center shares the vision of all seven agencies of the Department of Arkansas Heritage – to preserve and promote Arkansas heritage as a source of pride and satisfaction. Other agencies within the department are the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Arts Council, and the Natural Heritage Commission.
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