Cats & Dogs Reign

Student art contest exhibits fondness for furry friends

Posted on Apr 26 2017 in Features, For Youth

Three feline and two canine friends from the latest student art contest: a bridal kitty, left, for June by sixth grader Yianna Seibold of Columbus; a tumbling kitty and dog, top right, by fourth grader Naomi Schroeder of Kendallville; a tabby, far right, by kindergartner Benjamin Swing of Flora; and a young woman holding her dog by ninth grader Ella Kay Danner of South Whitley.

It rained cats and dogs on the 20th annual Cooperative Calendar of Student Art Contest. And because of that, a kennel of critters will rule the 2018 cooperative wall calendar!

From kindergartners through high school seniors, students depicted furry friends of the feline and canine kind. Winning entries in first, fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth grades all depicted cats and/or dogs.

Another cat missed making the cover by a whisker, but that kindergarten entry did win an honorable mention. Another ninth grade entry featuring a young woman hugging her dog “Tank” in a windswept field also won an honorable mention.

“Young artists are often encouraged to dig into their own experiences for inspiration. Students around Indiana took that to heart this year and showed the love they have for the pets they know so well,” said Richard G. Biever, senior editor of Electric Consumer. The statewide electric co-op magazine coordinates and sponsors the contest with participating REMC/RECs each year for the last 20 years.

For good measure, a reindeer being “photobombed” by another, a red fox, a bald eagle celebrating the Fourth of July in shades while toting a watermelon slice in its talons, owls and a robin round out the animals among the winners. A portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. earned the second grade award for February and little ghouls trick-or-treating won the sophomore division for October. The only other “fauna” featured is a man with his green Volkswagen Beetle transitioning in a tryptic from fall to winter in a junior’s expression of November.

Other subjects covered by this year’s first place and honorable mention winning entries included farm scenes, a blue-ribbon winning watermelon, a covered bridge in autumn, kites in the spring wind, a patriotic boat for Flag Day and sunflowers for August.

The winning works from the 13 grades, K-12, will illustrate the cover and the months of the 2018 cooperative calendar. Nine honorable mention-winning works appear in a special section in the calendar which is published by Electric Consumer and distributed by participating cooperatives around Indiana in the fall.

The contest brought in 2,720 entries this year. In the 20 years the contest has been held, beginning with the 1999 calendar, some 86,810 pieces of art have been entered.

Cash prizes were $200 for all grade division winners and $50 for honorable mention winners. The Artist of the Year — Naomi Schroeder of Kendallville — earned an additional $100.

Naomi, a fourth grader, is the youngest Artist of the Year the contest has had. Her whimsical depiction of April literally “raining cats and dogs” (of the two-dimensional kind, that is), captured the fancy of the judges who were impressed with her ability to turn a well-known phrase into a humorous and standout work of art (see story on page 18). The work also perfectly fit the overall “pet” theme that developed.

Naomi is now a two-time winner; she won her grade division as a first grader in the 2015 calendar.

Other repeat winners include:

  • Ninth grade winner Evan Olinger. He becomes only the second student in the contest’s 20 years to win his or her grade division four consecutive years. The Sellersburg student won the Best of Show as a seventh grader in the 2016 calendar.
  • Eighth grade winner Danielle Sommerman. The Crawford County student won her division for the second consecutive time and third time overall.
  • Sixth grade winner Yianna Seibold. The Columbus student won her division for the third consecutive time.
  • McKayla Piercy. The Benton Central High School student, who won an honorable mention last year as a sophomore, won the 11th grade division this year.
  • Attie Schuler. The Northfield High School junior won an honorable mention this year, trading places with McKayla. Schuler, last year’s Best of Show winner, also won her grade division as a third grader in 2010’s calendar.

The wall calendar, which will also contain electric co-op information, will be available at participating REMCs/RECs this autumn.

Also of note, Whitko High School in South Whitley continued its strong showing in the contest with students winning the 10th and 12th grade divisions and earning honorable mentions for an 11th and ninth grader. Meanwhile, the classroom teacher of the third grade winner, Lily Moser from St. John Lutheran School in Kendallville, is Peggy Schroeder, Naomi’s mom. First grade winner Elisa Jones of Charlestown is the little sister of two previous winners and sixth grade honorable mention winner Mary Batz of Williams is the little sister of another previous honorable mention winner.

Indiana Electric Cooperatives, the association that publishes Electric Consumer, continues its partnership with Hoosier Salon to expand the outreach of both groups. The Salon is the distinguished organization of Indiana artists, galleries and patrons.

A reception for the winners, their parents and art instructors, sponsored by IEC and Hoosier Salon, will be held in conjunction with the Hoosier Salon’s annual exhibition. The Salon’s exhibit will be held at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis in July.