Monthly Archives: February 2012

Featured Student Artist: Youna Jang

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Today’s featured student artist is the incredibly talented Youna Jang.  Youna is a senior in high school and was a Top Ten Winner for the Fall 2011 Spring Art Contest.  She plans to go to a good art college that will lead her to be a graphic designer that gives positive messages to the world.  Youna explained to us what inspired her beautiful art piece, “My Grandmother.”

Image“Though I have always held a passion for art, I did not always feel as confident about taking it in as my future and career as I do now. Despite worries about the potential costs and risks, I could not give up on the idea because I was so sure that art was the only thing that could ever be mine and make my heart beat as it had. I felt a strong desire to create. My mind could not stop wandering and exploring idea after idea and my eyes could not stop searching for awe-inspiring works to learn from.

Thus, during my high school years, I decided to prove to myself that I was qualified to make art my career and extinguish any lasting doubts by participating in as many art competitions as I could. One of them was ‘Celebrating Art’. My art work, ‘My Grandmother’ was for my grandmother who gave me much love and supported me to be an artist while I was growing. She was big part of my life. In the art piece, I wrote about her love that she gave to her grandchildren. With her support, I could keep my dreams and hopImagees.”

One can see in Youna’s art the emotion she was able to show the world through her creation.  Youna went on to tell CelebratingArt her hopes and dreams for the future.

“I would like to be a designer. In particular, the graphic designer Jeseok Yi inspires me to pursue graphic design and Public Service Announcement work in particular. A good example of Yi’s work is a piece called, ‘For some, it’s Mt. Everest.’ Against the steps of the subway stairwell, an illustration of Mt. Everest is superimposed. At the bottom, it says, ‘For some, it’s Mt. Everest.’ Yi got this idea when passing by an old woman who was having a difficult time going up the stairs of a subway station. This work shows the way an artist can identify a problem and create a work that presents that problem to the greater public. By creating my own projects like this public service announcement, I want my art to shake the hearts of others as well as convey informative messages.

Even though my parents don’t have ability to support me financially, I’m not going to give up because I have clear dreams and goals for my future. With my talent and passion for art, I want to give people positive messages so that this world could be a better place.”

Thank you, Youna!  What an inspiration you are to others trying to achieve their dreams.  Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, we know you will go on to do great things with your incredible talent.

Sweepstakes Time!

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Creative Communication (host of national poetry contests for students in grades K-12) and CelebratingArt.com (host of national art contests for students in grades K-12) are hosting a national sweepstakes!

There will be two winners; one winner over 18 years of age will receive two free flights to ANYWHERE in the United States, and one winner 18 years or younger will receive a free Amazon Kindle. Here are the rules:

To make an entry, check out the following links to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  Each will get you one entry (remember, we have a Twitter and Facebook page for both Creative Communication AND CelebratingArt.com – that’s a total of four entries!)  Each time one of your friends on Facebook “likes” us from your referral you will receive two bonus entries.  If you tweet out our contest link you will receive three bonus entries.  Every time someone follows us on Twitter from one of your tweets you will receive two bonus entries.  The more entries you have, the more likely is your chance to win.  The contest runs until April 2, 2012.  We will then have a drawing to pick the winners.  Every day you can submit a new entry for each Facebook profile – that’s a lot of entries!  Don’t miss out on your chance to win.

CelebratingArt:
Twitter:   https://woobox.com/2bmyws
Facebook:  https://woobox.com/ity9o2

Creative Communication:
Twitter:  https://woobox.com/wc6x3z
Facebook:  https://woobox.com/mby6i4

Here’s a breakdown of ways you can get entries into the contest:

Facebook
“Like” our Creative Communication page — 1 entry
“Like” our CelebratingArt page — 1 entry
Have a friend “like” our Creative Communication page from your referral —2 entries
Have a friend “like” our CelebratingArt page from your referral —2 entries

 Twitter
Follow our Creative Communication page — 1 entry
Follow our CelebratingArt page — 1 entry
Send a tweet to your friends with the link to the sweepstakes page — 3  entries
Each friend that follows us from your tweet — 2 entries

Now get out there and enter to win big!

Student Art Winner Profile: Erica G.

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ImageOur student artist spotlight for this week is on 16 year old Erica G.  Erica was a Top Ten Winner with her art piece “Noble Dane” in our Fall 2011 Art Contest.

Erica is a junior at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School.  Amazingly, she is a self-taught artist.  Her favorite things to draw are animals.  Erica tells us, “I’ve always had a passion for drawing…In the future I know I want to have a job that involves artistic creativity in which I can use my talent for digital drawing.”

One can see by her winning entry how incredibly talented Erica already is.  Good luck with your future endeavors, Erica.  We know you are going to be successful and hope to see more of your work in the future.

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CelebratingArt is one arm of the contests that our company sponsors.  We also host writing contests. The power of using a contest to create a spark in the classroom is universal.  Today we share a story from Jennifer Selder, Miss Arizona and 3rd runner-up to Miss America.  She relates the power of our contests to influence a life.

“Fifth grade was no dImageoubt my favorite year in elementary school. My teacher gave us an hour every single day to work on our very own writing projects. During this time, I was able to grow tremendously in my foundation as a writer, and I attribute my love of poetry to that very class. I sent many hours learning the basics: the terms, the forms, the styles. Because of this, I was able to branch out later in life in use those skills to take my writing to a new level. You see, once you learn the basis of how to write creatively, it is so much easier to write in all other forms because you can allow them to take your own voice into account. I had a poem published by Creative Communication that year in 5th grade, and I will never forget how special and inspired it made me feel. I have since gone on to win numerous essay contests, many which earned me scholarship money for college, and I may have never believed in myself if it wasn’t for Creative Communication. And as Miss Arizona, I write pages and pages of creatively written updates for all of my followers. Now of course I still take time on my own to read, study, and write poetry. When you choose to be an active learner and writer, I think you will find, just as I did, that truly anything is possible.

With love,
Jennifer Sedler, Miss Arizona 2011, 3rd runner up to Miss America 2012″

The poem Jennifer entered in our contest, “Hawaiian Seas,” can be viewed below.

                                 Hawaiian Seas
Shimmering
Warm, turquoise, sea,
Rainbow fish, angelfish, carp, needlefish, even turtles
Glittery, colorful, green, blue, pink, yellow, orange
Hawaiian seas

Wild
A raging storm, ripping and clattering like a boiling pot of
Bubbling and churning water on a stove
Hawaiian seas

Quiet
Still, motionless, a serene feeling everywhere, the world has stopped,
To gaze at this splendid view of the harmonious
Hawaiian seas

Waves
Rapidly pulling grains of course, powdery sand to
Its home beneath those waters that the sea urchins call home
Hawaiian seas

Hope
Gently buried deep within the glassy, cerulean
Hawaiian seas

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story with us.  Just as we helped shape your life with our contest, we know of the many lives you now touch as Miss AZ.  Rock on.

Contest That Changes Lives: Miss Arizona Speaks Out

What Is the Judging Criteria for Our Contest?

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We have often been asked what makes a winning piece of art.  In passing this question off to our judges, one of our middle school art judges replied with the following.

“All submissions have an equal opportunity for fair judging.  Our purpose is to encourage budding artists by publishing a variety of stimulating art pieces.  Being published gives the artist the recognition and encouragement toward a lifetime of creativity.”

The judging criteria for art pieces submitted into the CelebratingArt contests include, but are not restricted to, the following:

— Age appropriate skills mastered in:

elements of design – line, texture, color, shape/form, value and space
principles of design –  repetition, balance, emphasis, contrast and unity
understanding and use of medium chosen

— What kind of statement does a piece make?  Was it thought provoking?  Did it tell a story?  Is there an emotional impact?

— We look for levels of creativity, originality, self-expression, craftsmanship, and skill.

One other important factor is the photo submitted. Here are some keys to remember when submitting your work.  Overall, only the top 25% of art entered is accepted to be published.

1.    Take the date and time off the camera
2.    Make sure it is in focus
3.    Make sure it is a high resolution photo
4.    Make sure it is a graphic file type such as a jpg or tif
5.    Don’t use lined paper
6.    Take the photo straight on and not at an angle
7.    Take off the flash
8.    Clean out any background
9.    Crop the photo
10. Make sure it is properly rotated.

Student Art Winner Profile: Joann Huang

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If any of you have recently visited our Top Ten Winner page at CelebratingArt.com, you know that we have some pretty incredible artists compete in our national contest.  One of these extremely talented artists is Joann Huang, who was chosen as a winner for the Fall 2011 Art Contest.

Joann Huang is a senior at John P Stevens High School.  Joann was selected as a Top Ten Winner for her art piece “Contemplation.” Joann tells us that this piece was originally inspired by apple peels.  “The woman’s skin resembles the apple peel and the snakeskin background represents her emotions and problems slowly slithering away into the air.”

What a beautiful piece, and a beautiful story that lies underneath it.  Thanks for sharing, Joann, and we wish you the best for your bright future!

The Arts Are Essential

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Normally, a blog is the words of the blogger, but today, I wanted to share the words of the President of Cornell University.  You can read the full article here.

Image“As president of a large research university that received 33,000 applications for 3,050 places in the fall freshman class, I’m often asked by parents of students in high school, middle school — and even those in preschool — what their children should study in the K-12 years to increase their chances of admission to college. I dutifully affirm the conventional wisdom: Take the most challenging courses in core academic disciplines like English, languages, history, math, and science for the required number of years, participate in extracurricular activities, volunteer…

Then I put in a plea for taking time to explore the humanities and arts in all their varied dimensions — visual and performing, Western and non-Western, classical and avant-garde. Far from being mere adornments to educational development, easy to dismiss as nonessential in tight economic times, these disciplines nurture our creative instincts.”

Be a Finisher

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This last week we sent out notifications to the teachers in our contest to let them know if they still had students who had not given permission to be published. I received an email back that one teacher has done all she could, but one of her student’s mother gave a verbatim “no”.  The teacher was puzzled why a mother would say that.

There are many scams on the internet that accept everything that is entered in a contest.  They have as their sole purpose to sell books.  Often there is a fee to be published or you are required to purchase a book. That is not who we are.

Giving permission helps to recognize students who have earned a reward. As a parent and teacher I am very protective of my children.  However, I would never conceptualize not allowing them to receive recognition for an accomplishment.

We have so many students who have taken this accomplishment and used it to make a difference in their lives.  I have the attitude to always let other people limit my options.  In college I applied for over 40 scholarships and received 36 rejection letters.  The four I received paid for tuition, books, and a little left over.  If I didn’t apply, I would not have received anything.  However, when a student enters a contest, is recognized, and has put forth the effort, then finishing the process and getting recognition is important.

To release a student’s art or writing, we have to receive verification that each winner created an original work and get permission.  Each year about 10% of the students we have chosen as winners fail to give permission.  This could be because the work is not original or they just thought returning permission is no big deal.

If you have students enter a contest, then be a finisher.  Follow the contest through to completion.

Have a great day.

Student Art Winner Profile: Kelsey Morgan Chase Faucett

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As you know, we host art (celebratingart.com) and writing (poeticpower.com) contests.  I would like to share some of the contest winners as they give permission.  

When we receive an entry in the contest we have a digital entry.  What personalizes the entry is the story behind the art. As we have announced the Top Ten Winners for the Fall 2011 art contest, we have asked the winners to give us permission to share their art.  Let me introduce home school artist Kelsey Morgan Chase Faucett  from South Carolina.   

Kelsey is in the 7th grade and was not only our contest’s very first entry, but over the last three contests she has been a Top Ten winner three times. This is a record, but as I always say, if you don’t enter, you don’t have a chance to win.  

Here is what she has to say.

“My drawing’s name is Night Owl. I love drawing owls because of their beautiful eyes.  It is almost as if you can see what they are thinking.  Night owl was one of my favorite drawings. It won Best of Show at our fair but was stolen the last night of the fair. I believe everything happens for a reason and good can always come from bad.  So I decided to draw a Barn Owl on a branch and donate it to our local American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  It is to be auctioned at the next Relay Night for our town.

It is a true honor to be picked as a Top Ten Winner. Thank you so much for having this contest.”
ImageThanks for sharing Kelsey.  Keep up the good work.

Every Famous Artist/Poet Started Somewhere

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I often have parents ask what it means to be published in one of our books. For our students, it means that their work was better than most of their peers.  However, from that top tier, we always have a few student poets and artists who move on to the next level.  We give them a start when they are in school, and then they take that beginning and make their own dreams come true and become a professional poet or artist.

Jasmine Kang is one such student.  Now a graduate from San Jose University, we published her before she went to college.  Moving beyond our publication,  she kept writing and published a book of poems, River of Light.  This anthology of her poems received Honorable Mention at the Paris Book Festival and was a USA Book News “Best Books 2010” award finalist.  Jasmine stated in an email, “Writing and art are some things I really feel for. It’s not about selling and making money, but about the passion, about sharing and spreading inspiration.”

ImageFor each book that we create, there are a few sparks that ignite into a passion for writing.  We never know who these life long writers or artists will be.  As you look at each student in your classes, you always have to remember that every famous writer or artist started somewhere.  We love it when teachers have their students participate.  We know that among the thousands of students we work with each year, a few will move on to the next level.  As teachers, we never know who that one student will be. They might just be a student in your classroom this year, but by having them compete in our contests, you are giving them a chance at receiving recognition.  For one teacher, years ago, Jasmine may have just been a student who entered a contest.  Today, she is a writer with her own anthology and several awards.  Every famous writer started somewhere. For Jasmine, we were a part of her beginning. Thank you Jasmine.