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How art and elections come together

by Brian Zylstra | June 5th, 2013


From left: Bennett Elementary principal Nicole Hepworth, Bennett art teacher Gina Ray, State Elections Director Lori Augino, art contest winner Amy Shell and Secretary of State Kim Wyman. (Photo courtesy of JulieAnne Behar.)

The General Election Voters’ Pamphlet that Washington residents receive each fall includes plenty of helpful info about candidates and ballot measures so voters can make informed choices when they fill out their ballot.

Besides providing lots of fodder for the analytical left side of your brain, the Voters’ Pamphlet offers something for the right side: voting-related artwork created by a Washington student.

In 2002, we added a fun element to the Voters’ Pamphlet by starting an art contest in which the winner’s work is featured in the pamphlet that fall.  It’s a way to have students create an art project that focuses on voting and why it’s so important. Students in grades 4-5 are invited to enter the Voters’ Pamphlet Art Contest. This year, about 350 students took part.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Wyman visited Bennett Elementary School in Bellevue to make a surprise presentation to this year’s winner, fifth-grader Amy Shell. The photo above was taken during the assembly in which Wyman announced that Shell won. Here is Shell’s winning art submission, which will appear in this fall’s Voters’ Pamphlet.

This year’s contest theme is “I am a Change Maker.”

Nathan Brown of Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School in Vancouver was selected as first runner-up in the contest. Brown’s poster is here. Cynthia Yu of Clyde Hill Elementary School in Clyde Hill was second runner-up. Yu’s poster is here.

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