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Sister Cities host art competition

Art show: Participants in the 2009 Suffolk Sister Cities International Young Artists and Young Authors Showcase show off their certificates at the reception at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Entries for this year’s showcase are due Jan. 19.

Suffolk students are invited to share their ideas on a greener future for their community through artwork in a Sister Cities competition.

The 23rd annual Suffolk Sister Cities International Young Artists and Young Authors Showcase is soliciting entries for the juried exhibition. This year’s theme is “Shaping Your Community for a Greener Future.”

“We’re trying to get the word out,” said Kay Goldberg, one of the co-chairs of the exhibition. Students in Suffolk’s public high schools and Nansemond-Suffolk Academy already have been encouraged to enter, she said, but “we were hoping that people who had students in other schools or homeschooled students might want to participate, as well.”

Winners in the local competition will move forward to a national competition, from which 10 finalists will be selected. Those 10 pieces of art will be displayed at the 2011 Youth Conference in Eugene, Ore., and then begin an international tour. From the 10 winning works, one U.S. artist and one international artist will be selected as overall winners and will receive $1,000 cash and free registration for the conference.

Because this year’s theme focuses on a “greener future,” artists are encouraged to use recycled materials to illustrate the way the artist, the community or the sister city is working to protect the local environment. Acceptable media include watercolor, oils, pastels, pen and ink, charcoal, photography, two-dimensional mixed media and computer-generated art.

In addition, the authors’ showcase will feature essays and poems, Goldberg said.

This is the second year for the authors’ showcase.

The international Sister Cities organization pairs U.S. cities with foreign counterparts. Suffolk’s two sister cities are Suffolk County, England, its Old World namesake, and Oderzo, Italy, from which Amedeo Obici, founder of Planters Peanuts in Suffolk, hailed.

Artwork from young people in each American city’s sister city also is eligible in the contest.

The Suffolk division of the art show has had as many as 100 entries in past years, Goldberg said.

This year’s jurors are Leeann Chambers, who will judge the artwork, and Carolyn Melchor, who will judge the writing portion.

The contest is open to all high school students and homeschooled students ages 13-18 in the city of Suffolk. The deadline for entries is Jan. 19. The show will be on display at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., from Jan. 23 to Feb. 25.

For more information on the competition, email kaydon24@mac.com. For more information on the Suffolk Sister Cities program, visit www.suffolk.va.us/SisterCities.