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Calendar art contest winners illustrate state's bicentennial

Posted on May 01 2015 in Features

The year 2016 is a special year for Indiana. The state marks its 200th birthday. To celebrate, the 2016 Cooperative Calendar of Student Art — the 18th edition of the student art calendar — will blend Indiana history, culture, events and places with the monthly themes student artists depicted.

The contest for the calendar was judged March 27 at the Electric Consumer office in Indianapolis. The grade division winning works, kindergarten through grade 12, are presented in our new 2016 gallery along with honorable mention winners. The winning works will also illustrate the cover of next year’s calendar and the 12 months inside, while the honorable mention winners will appear in a special section in the back of the calendar.

As in past years, each grade was assigned a specific month to illustrate. First graders had January, second graders had February, and so on through high school seniors illustrating December when the first calls for entries went out last fall. But for the 2016 calendar, students were also asked to mix in some Indiana flavor to make the calendar a special legacy of the state’s bicentennial. In fact, the Indiana Bicentennial Commission officially endorsed the art contest/2016 calendar as a “Legacy Project” in November 2014.

Almost 1,800 entries from all over the state came into our office — depicting everything from historical events, to landmarks and landscapes to famous Hoosiers like James Dean and David Letterman.

Highlights from the winning works include:

  • the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday we celebrate in February. Lincoln’s family moved north of the Ohio River within days of Indiana’s statehood in 1816, and he spent his formative years, ages 7-21, living in the wilderness of southern Indiana.
  • a bird’s-eye (or a nose-bleed section) view of March madness in full swing in our basketball-crazed state.
    the state tree Tulip Poplar in bloom for May.
  • Meriwether Lewis meeting up with William Clark on the Indiana banks near the Falls of the Ohio River in 1803. In June of that year, Lewis wrote Clark in Indiana Territory asking him to join what became their famed expedition. Clark was looking after his older brother, American Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark, who lived on a bluff overlooking the Falls. Clark accepted the invitation and helped recruit the core “Nine Young Men” of the Corps of Discovery from the area for the expedition.
  • a patriotically painted girl arriving at the annual Fourth of July celebration in New Pekin. The town’s claim to fame is having the oldest consecutive Fourth of July celebration in the nation. This is the work that won “Best of Show”.
  • the Conner House surrounded by autumn finery at Conner Prairie, the living history museum in Hamilton County, that takes visitors back to Indiana of the 1800s.
  • Monument Circle, in the very center of the state capital in the center of our state, where the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was the first monument in the United States dedicated to the common soldier. Built between 1888 and 1901, the iconic symbol of Indianapolis originally honored Hoosier veterans of the Civil War, befitting November’s remembrance of Veterans Day.
  • the state capitol building, a few blocks to the west of Monument Circle, bringing the bicentennial celebration home. It was on Dec. 11, 1816 that Indiana joined the union as the 19th state. Though the capitol was featured in a number of works by students from all grades, only one senior actually marked that significance in his work for December 2016. Judges noted the birthday banner the student added was an appropriate way to wrap up the bicentennial calendar.

“I was really impressed with the diversity of the artwork I was able to see,” noted Valeri Beamer, communications coordinator for the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, who was among the judges this year. “The finished calendar will be impressive as it celebrates Indiana’s history and showcases Indiana’s youth. The Indiana Bicentennial Commission is proud to have been a part of such a great tradition!”

The 2016 calendar will be made available by participating electric cooperatives around the state and Electric Consumer in early autumn.

First place winners received $200 each, while honorable mention winners received $50. The Best of Show winner, Evan Olinger, received an additional $100 (please see additional story). Some 250 other students will receive “Award of Merit” certificates indicating their works advanced to the final round of judging.

The contest, sponsored by Electric Consumer and participating electric cooperatives, will once again team up with Hoosier Salon, the distinguished organization of Indiana artists, galleries and patrons, to host the winning students at a reception held in conjunction with the Salon’s annual exhibition. The reception is scheduled for July 30 in Indianapolis.