Two contests available for young artists



by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs


11/4/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Young artists in the Maxwell community have two chances to show what it means to be part of a military family.

To build awareness for Military Family Month in November, the Maxwell Airman and Family Readiness Center, or AFRC, seeks entries for its annual art contest, said Kathi Byrd, information and referral consultant for the AFRC. "The winners will get a ribbon, certificate and prizes," she said.

Entry forms and policies will be available at the AFRC starting Monday. Artwork is due Nov. 21.

Children ages 4-12 are welcome to participate as long as parents are in the armed services or have retired with at least 20 years of service.

The winning artwork will be featured in an auction and showcase Dec. 15 with proceeds going to the AFRC food pantry.

Artists also are encouraged to enter Armed Services YMCA contest, with a deadline of Feb. 17. Winners at the national level have their artwork displayed in federal buildings in Washington, D.C.

"In the past two years, (Maxwell) has had three winners who have either placed or won," in the YMCA competition, Byrd said.

Last year, fourth-grader Trip Carroll won first place at the national level. "He was so excited, and I think he smiled for an entire week," said Mona Dunson, his art teacher at Maxwell Elementary Middle School. He and his father traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept his award.

Both contests give young artists the chance to tell their stories.

"This is a way children can express how they feel about being in a military family," Byrd said.

"Some cannot talk about what they are feeling, and art may be the key," Dunson said. "Being a military child has its own identity, and it is a source of pride to the majority of our students."

For information on the AFRC competition, call 953-2353. To learn more about the YMCA contest, visit www.asymca.org.