MLK Jr. Day as seen by the next generation

Powerful stuff.

Each year the Missoulian hosts a contest for Missoula’s kids on a different theme for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I’m always blown away by the artwork, essays and poems offered by the kids right here at home. They show that these kids really get it – and open up new facets I’d never even considered.

So enjoy, but be warned – once you start reading the submissions from the winners you’ll want to read them all.

Congratulations, kids. You make us all proud.

Will Hansen, Kindergarten, Sussex School.

Will Hansen, Kindergarten, Sussex School.


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More free admission days at Children’s Museum Missoula

Believe it or not, this Friday, Jan. 3, is the First Friday of a brand-new year.

As usual, the Children’s Museum Missoula will be opening its doors from 5-7 p.m. Stop by with the kiddos and check out artwork provided by Missoula International School students.

Admission during those hours will be free, as well as free all day long the next day, Saturday, Jan. 4, during open hours from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday’s free admission is thanks to the support of ZillaState.

Not a bad way to kick off the first week of 2014.

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Time to get creative for Kids’ Holiday Drawing Contest

The kids and I are big on making our own Christmas presents each year. It’s fun, it’s thrifty and it’s a great way to spend time together – which is what the holidays are all about, right?

We have a rule that we absolutely cannot start any Christmas projects until after Thanksgiving. But we can still collect lots of great ideas. Oh yes we can.

And of course we’ll be making our own Christmas cards.

If your kids make their own cards too, you might encourage them to send one in to the Missoulian for the annual Holiday Drawing Contest. The Missoulian sponsors it, and publishes the top 25 submissions in the newspaper. The grand prize winner will become the 2014 holiday card for Youth Homes, Inc.


That’s a pretty good reason to participate. Another good reason to send that art in is that the first-place winners in each of two age groups will win $25. Which you could use to buy even more card stock, envelopes and glitter.

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An inspiring time to get started on MLK contest entries

On Tuesday, it was the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. On Friday, it will be the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr.

Both of these events can be difficult things to talk about with kids. It helps that we have the soaring words of great leaders to guide the way.

Which makes me long for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, still months away. There’s a day to celebrate the ability of words to guide us through difficult times!

Western Montana’s young ones can start celebrating – and learning – today, if they wish, in preparation for the Missoulian’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. writing and art contest.

Each year, children from preschool age through 12th grade are welcome to participate in the contest by responding to a particular quote or theme from MLK. The theme for 2014 is “Keep Moving Forward” and the quote is “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But my all means, keep moving.”

The deadline is for submitting original drawings, paintings or other artwork is Jan. 6, which is still plenty of weeks away.

But if you’re looking for a great seque between then and now, I think this particular week offers plenty of inspiration.

Here’s more information from the article:

Winners in grade categories pre-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 will receive cash prizes in the written and art categories. Selected winning entries will be featured in the Missoulian.

Send entries to MLK Essay/Art Contest, Missoulian, P.O. Box 8029, Missoula, MT 59807.

The contest is sponsored by the Missoulian, MLK Day Planning Committee, NCBI Missoula and University of Montana Excellence Fund. Contact Debby Florence at 541-6891 or with questions.

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Young filmmakers can enter Polson’s FLIC Jr. competition

Got a budding young filmmaker in the family?

Then hand over the expensive electronics and circle Dec. 1 on the calendar.

That’s the submission deadline for the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest‘s junior competition. Young filmmakers – those 18 years old and younger – are invited to compete in FLIC Jr. after checking out the submission guidelines, legal info, fees and other details.

The film festival in Polson will run from Jan. 24-26, 2014. According to festival organizers, “All submitted films will be juried by a panel of judges made up of experts within the field of film and local community members. Films selected to be part of the festival will be shown during the festival and are eligible to receive ‘Best Of’ awards in several categories.”

Also: “FLIC’s mission is to provide makers of all film genres a venue through which they enrich themselves and their audiences by engaging with film.”

For more information call (406) 274-0181 or send an email to


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Fabulous children’s artwork on display at Southgate Mall

Here’s the awful thing about kindergarten: My daughter is making such wonderful things, and bringing them home on such a regular basis, that I am having to make some really difficult decisions about what to keep and what to toss.

The space I have dedicated to storing her most cherished creations – her first drawing of her dad, her 1-year-old hand and feet prints, her first autobiography, etc. – is already brimming. Yet just this past Mother’s Day, she made me half a dozen precious presents that I just can’t stand to store, let alone throw away.

Art 1Speaking of precious artwork, Southgate Mall is currently hosting the 2011 Elementary School Art Show. It’s a “mixed media” show, with a wide assortment of materials and colors to delight the eye.

And it all springs from the imaginations of local elementary school students, many of whom spent up to five months working on their creations.

The show was organized by the Organized by the Missoula County Public Schools Fine Arts Department, this year’s show features artwork by students from Alberton School, Bonner Elementary School, Chief Charlo Elementary, Cold Springs Elementary, CS Porter Middle School, Florence Carlton School, Franklin Elementary, Frenchtown Junior High, Hawthorne Elementary, Lewis & Clark Elementary, Lolo Elementary School, Lowell Elementary, Meadow Hill Middle School, Missoula International School, Paxson Elementary, Rattlesnake Elementary, Russell Elementary, Seeley Lake Elementary, St. Joseph Elementary, Swan Valley Elementary, Valley Christian School, Victor School, Washington Middle School and Woodman Elementary School.

Art 2The display is available for viewing during mall hours, Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. And you will definitely want to get over there to see it before the last day (May 22).

I sure pity the folks who have to take down the display when the show is over.

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Whoa! Check out the entries for the Congressional Art Competition

There are only a few days left to vote for the Montana-wide winner of the 2011 Congressional Art Competition! Voting is scheduled to close this upcoming Sunday – Mother’s Day – and whether you pick a favorite or not, you will definitely want to browse through the entries.

The only place I could find them is on Rep. Denny Rehberg’s Facebook page. As Montana’s Congressman, he’s the guy corralling the entries from Montana’s high school students. He has 27 of them posted, and the talent and range of materials is absolutely stunning. There’s some pencil drawings, some paintings, a photograph, a couple of digital images … well, you just have to see them.

The submissions with the most votes will move on as finalists in the competition. In order to vote, however, it appears you have to “Like” Rehberg on Facebook first. If I have that wrong or the entries are available anyplace else, hopefully someone in the know will set me straight.

In a prepared statement, Rehberg had this to say about Facebook and the contest:

Facebook is not only an excellent place for me to directly interact with Montanans, it’s a remarkable forum to showcase the talents of our state’s young artists through The Congressional Art Competition. This year’s contest will be truly interactive, as the Facebook users will vote for their favorite submissions, helping me to select the finalists.  I hope everyone will log on to take a look.

For more information about the contest and the prizes – including college scholarships – you might want to check out my earlier posts on the subject.

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Fifth-grader’s winning poster features Lost Creek State Park

Last week Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced the winners of its 2011 Montana State Parks Fifth Grade Poster Contest.

This year marked the 21st anniversary of the contest, which invites fifth-graders from across the state to submit original artwork highlighting Montana’s individual parks. This year’s theme centered on camping.

MorganWyantThis year’s first-place winner, Lincoln Elementary School’s Morgan Wyant of Anaconda, submitted a piece about Lost Creek State Park.

She wins an assortment of prizes stuffed into a backpack, and valued at $200, and her whole class wins a field trip to “a state park of their choice.” Any guesses on which park it’ll be?

A Sacred Heart Home School student in Helena, Charles Grag, won second place for his Bannack State Park entry; the third place winner is North Star Elementary School’s Hali Kapperud, of Gildford, for her piece on Sluice Boxes State Park. Each of them will also get backbacks full of field guides and other prizes worth $150 and $100, respectively.

A Bannack State Park entry earned an Honorable Mention for Clay Allison of Dillon’s Parkview Elementary School, so this kiddo will be counted among the winners who will receive a T-shirt featuring their winning artwork and a subscription to Montana Outdoors magazine.

All these winners will also get some exposure for their artwork, which will be traveling around the state through November. Here’s the display schedule:

June 2 – 13, FWP  Headquarters, 1420 E. 6th Avenue, Helena

June 20 – July 5, Lone Pine State Park, Kalispell

July 18- 29, FWP Office, 3201 Spurgin Road, Missoula

Aug. 8 – 19, FWP Office, 1400 South 19th, Bozeman

Aug. 29 – Sept. 9, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, Ulm

Sept. 19 – 30, Pictograph Cave State Park, Billings

Oct. 11 – 21, FWP Office, Hwy 2 West, Glasgow

Nov. 1 – 15,  FWP Office, 352 I-94 Business Loop, Miles City

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Gala fundraiser reading for Aerie International is this Thursday!

If you aren’t familiar with Big Sky High School’s award-winning international literary arts magazine, Aerie International, you are missing out.

This Thursday brings an opportunity to correct that. The Dana Gallery in downtown Missoula is hosting the fourth annual gala fundraiser and reading for the student publication. The family-friendly event will feature art, poetry, music, world food and more.

For a taste, check out this photo by 18-year-old Carrie Klemencic of Lawrence, Kansas:

Carrie Klemencic_Within ReachSample

Amazing, right?

More talent of this caliber – and coming from all over the globe – will be on display while student editors read original work AND selections from the next issue of Aerie International, all while guest readers and advisory board members – writers Tami Haaland, Debra Magpie Earling, David Allan Cates, Robert Stubblefield, Caroline Patterson and Robert Lee – mill around.

The night kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with live jazz and international hors d’ouerves, and drop-ins are welcome throughout the evening.

Remember, this is a fundraiser, so a suggested donation of $25 per “family” is appreciated, “family being loosely defined as any group of adults with or without children, related or unrelated.

If you have other plans and can’t make it, you can still check out Aerie International through its website. Or, for $12, subscribe to the magazine by emailing a subscription request to

Here’s more information about the publication:

The students of Aerie are eligible for $100 prizes each year include the Patricia Goedicke Poetry Award, the James Welch Fiction Award, the Norman Maclean Nonfiction Award, the Rudy Autio Visual Arts Award, the Lee Nye Photography Award, the Richard Hugo Sense of Place Award, and the Chief Charlo Celebration of Culture Award.

Aerie International is the only magazine of its kind dedicated to high school students editing and publishing the work of their peers worldwide. Last year the student editors solicited and read more than 350 submissions from 13-19 year olds from England, Russia, Turkmenistan, Japan, Finland, Canada, and across the United States.

Since 1999, Big Sky High School’s two literary arts magazines have received or been nominated for the highest award rank in the National Council of Teacher’s of English Program to recognize excellence in sudent literary magazines seven times.

Last year both magazines received the highest award.

For still more information as well as other donation avenues, call Lorilee Evans-Lynn at Big Sky High School at 728-2401, or write to Aerie International, Big Sky High School, 3100 South Avenue W. Missoula, MT 59804.

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Congressional Art Competition includes college scholarships for Montana winner

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the Congressional Art Competition and Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg urging Montana’s high school students to submit their own original artwork for consideration.

The winning entries from each state are displayed in the Cannon Tunnel at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The first runner-up from Montana gets to hang his or her artwork in Rehberg’s D.C. officer.

But wait – there’s more.

Last week (and here you can gauge just how far I’m running behind on reading my emails) Rehberg announced that the winner from Montana will also be offered college scholarships from the University of Montana and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Wow, right?

The UM scholarship is for $1,000, and the winning artist has to enroll as an art major for the 2011-2012 school year. The Savannah scholarship is a $1,500 per year admission scholarship.

“The Congressional Art Competition is a great way for Montana’s young artists to be recognized and rewarded for their talents, and I’m thankful to the University of Montana and Savannah College for helping to allow a young Montana artist the opportunity to develop their skills as an art student,” said Rehberg in a prepared statement.

Details, details, details:

The competition is open to all students enrolled in a Montana high school or home-school equivalent. All submissions are due by Friday, April 22, 2011.  Further information, including official rules, guidelines, and instructions for submission, can be found online at under the Art Competition heading in the Services tab.

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