Taking Wing

Imaginations spring to life in Electric Consumer’s 15th annual calendar art contest

Posted on May 13 2012 in Features, For Youth

15yearsverticalBirds and butterflies, beetles, biplanes and other winged things have long been popular subjects of the works entered in the annual Electric Consumer/Indiana electric co-op calendar of student art contest.

How apropos they all are since the art contest — now in its 15th year — has given wing to so many young artists. Each year, entrants in grades kindergarten through high school prove age is no barrier and the sky’s the limit to creativity and artistic expression.

The contest began with the 1999 calendar. “It’s incredible to believe this is the 15th edition of the student art calendar,” said Emily Schilling, Electric Consumer editor. “Kindergartners from those first years are now into college or careers.”

She and senior editor Richard Biever brainstormed the calendar contest concept driving home after an assignment at a Knox County school in the spring of 1998. They lamented that so many imaginative pictures created as a “thank you” for them and other REMC employees around the state went mostly unseen.

That’s when they decided to turn Electric Consumer’s existing calendar of collected seasonal photography into a showcase of student art.

The format worked out perfectly: each of the 12 grade winners would illustrate one of the 12 months of the year. The calendar cover would be dedicated to the winning kindergartner. The second year of the contest, nine at-large honorable mention winners were added. These exceptional works began appearing in a special four-page section in the back of each calendar.

Since the contest’s beginning, almost 75,000 pieces of art have been entered by students all around the state. This year’s contest, which was judged March 26, had just over 2,600 entries. The winners, presented on page 4, will illustrate the 2013 calendar.

The 2013 calendar will be made available by participating electric cooperatives around the state and Electric Consumer in early autumn. The contest, sponsored by Electric Consumer and participating locally-owned electric cooperatives, enters its third year of cooperation with the Hoosier Salon to expand the outreach of both groups. Hoosier Salon is the distinguished 88-year-old organization of Indiana artists, galleries and art patrons.

The Salon has hosted a reception for the winners in Indianapolis the last two years. Another reception or event is being planned for this year’s winners. In addition, the winning works are once again being scheduled to tour the Salon’s three galleries in Wabash, New Harmony and Indianapolis. Details are still being sketched.

Cash prizes for the contest were: $200 for all grade division winners; and $50 for honorable mention winners. The “Artist of the Year” earned an additional $100.

Amanda Whaling, a senior at Center Grove High School in suburban Greenwood, earned the Artist of the Year title with an acrylic painting that was judged “Best of Show”. She now joins only two other students in the contest’s history to have won her grade division four times.

The calendar will also contain electric co-op information. Details of its availability will be published in future editions of Electric Consumer.

To read a story about Amanda Whaling, our 12th grade winner and Artist of the Year, please click here.

To view the winning works of art in our Gallery of Student Art: 2013, please click here.