In 2013 Friends of Rains County Public Library decided to engage talented teens from local area high schools to compete in an art competition. Convincing high school art instructors to rouse their teenage students to participate and get involved in an artistic competition was not an easy task. In the first year there were only 20 entries and two schools that showed any interest.

But, like all good things the word got out, the prizes got bigger, the creative juices began to flow, competition became healthy, and by 2019 more than 100 outstanding entries graced the walls of the Rains library’s Meadows Room. Ten area Rains and Wood County high schools competed and 30 purple ribbons plus more than $1,000 in cash was awarded.

By 2020 students and teachers looked forward to the seventh Art in the Gallery High School Art Competition but due to lack of manpower and other roadblocks the event was put on pause.

In my 42 years as an educator I always felt that teens needed an opportunity to express themselves through self-discovery and communication. It troubled me that some local schools chose to drop their high school art programs. Everyone has an imagination and art in any form took it a step further where their abstract ideas can be created into visual manifestations.

I am happy to announce that the Art in the Gallery High School Competition is returning for 2021 and will be on exhibit at the Winnsboro Center of the Arts (WCA). I am “passing the paintbrush” to WCA board president, Mary White and Art in the Gallery chairman Mary Geisler. They will fill the Winnsboro Center for the Arts gallery with a montage of ingenious original artwork for the Seventh Art in the Gallery High School Art Competition.

This event will serve area youth with a venue to showcase their artistic accomplishments and learn life-lessons through competition. Participating high schools and home schools include those in Miller Grove, Mineola, Rains, Rains, Como-Pickton, Alba Golden, Hawkins, Yantis, Quitman and Winnsboro.

Art instructors received an invitation for their students to be included in the contest with a deadline of February 8 through 13 for artwork. Judging takes place February 18 and 19, and a virtual and in person awards ceremony takes place at 4 p.m. Sunday, February 21. Categories include Best in Show, Excellence in Fine Arts, Best Use of Media, Most Imaginative, Viewers Choice, and Picasso Awards.

The winning student’s work will be on display at WCA from February 20 through April 10. They are open to the public Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Times are subject to change. Check for changes or call (903) 342-0686.

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