Local student’s artwork shines internationally
WILLMAR – Local Willmar Noon Lions member Terry Smith has been searching for peace for the past 15 years, a winning Peace Poster that is. Since joining the club in 2005, Smith has made it his mission to find a local student in the Willmar area who could draw and follow the direction of the Lions Clubs International Foundation-sponsored Peace Poster Contest.
Each fall, he searches area schools, talking to local art teachers, church groups, Scouting groups, and anyone that is artistic in the ages of 9-13 years old. “Some years I have had good luck, other years teachers are busy with their own curriculum,” says Smith. The Willmar Noon Lions Club donates funds in appreciation to any group that agrees to participate and the Lions Clubs International Foundation has videos to inspire students.
Lion Jason Grabinger approached Prinsburg Central Minnesota Chrisitian School art teacher Emily Setrum and shared the contest rules and expectations. The theme this year is “Kindness Matters.” The poster by CMCS student Hannah Graves, 13, had the artistic components and was selected by the Willmar Noon Lions to be entered at Mid-Winter Lions District Convention.
The poster traveled to Lions Day at the United Nations on March 9, at the U.N. headquarters in New York City.
According to Smith, “We have had some luck, getting second and third place at a district level, but have never reached an international level. We tried to keep up to date with the status, but no one in our district has ever had a poster go up the ranks this far, so we all knew it was a big deal!”
He explained, “Rarely, will a district or multiple districts have a poster advance to internationals with over 600,000 posters submitted. Most of the winners are usually from China, Japan or India.”
Hannah’s poster placed 24th out of over 600,000 posters submitted. As a Merit Winner, she is awarded $800 and $100 for the CMCS school art department. Her original poster is kept by Lions Clubs International Foundation and was on display July 5 – 9 at the 102nd annual Lions Clubs International Convention in Milan, Italy.