On display at the Pendleton Center for the Arts Thursday, about 40 posters tried to convey peace through color, shape and sybolism — but no words.
Show and don’t tell is the central conceit of the Lions Clubs International’s peace poster contest, a competition that asks middle schoolers to depict peace without letters or numbers.
Sunridge Middle School seventh grader Erin Picken took home the top prize for her vision of this year’s theme — “The Future of Peace.”
Erin said her poster was meant to be looked from bottom to top. At the bottom is an international collection of flags depicted as puzzle pieces.
The middle layer were conflicting stick figures in a drab urban environment, protesters on one side, police on the other. A mechanical hand bursts toward the sky from the middle layer, its hand configured into a peace sign as a dove and other vibrant peace symbols surround it.
“One day, the world will get it together,” she said after her win, the strife in her poster inspired by some of the civic unrest across the country in recent years. Erin is the daughter of East Oregonian Publisher Kathryn Brown.
Doves, peace signs, yins, yangs, rainbows and flags were a part of the general motif of most of the posters, but all of them had a unique spin on the theme.
Sunridge seventh grader Maria Alvarez Barroso drew a dove floating in space, the earth a considerable distance away, the moon covered in flags from around the world instead of just an American banner. The dove had flown in on a spaceship and even wore its own astronaut’s helmet for its venture beyond the shuttle.
“That was my dad’s idea,” said Maria, who won an honorable mention.
She didn’t take much influence from current events, because her rendering was from “way in the future.”
Bill Taylor, a 45-year member of the Pendleton Lions Club, got the community service group involved with the Peace Posters contest in 1996.
Pendleton’s participation in the competition has been on hiatus for several years but is back for 2017, the centennial year of the Lion Clubs International.
Following a longstanding rule, only children ages 11-13 were eligible for the contest, although 14-year-olds with exemplary posters were given honorable mentions.
Taylor said this year’s contest was aided by Michelle Sickels, an art teacher at Sunridge Middle School.
Sickels had 140 students participate in the peace poster contest as an assignment, dedicating three weeks to drawing and coloring their posters.
“It’s a great teaching tool,” Sickels said, because it requires students to express an idea without using words.
The posters were eventually moved to the art center, where they were judged by a panel comprised of Pendleton Lions Club member Subhadra Maharjan, Pendleton Early Learning Center Child Development Specialist Anne Sokoloski and Pendleton School District Superintendent Chris Fritsch.
With Erin winning the Pendleton competition, her piece will be entered into a larger competition against other posters. If she can advance past the regional, state and national competitions, Erin’s poster will be considered for the international competition.
The winner of that contest will be flown to the United Nations in New York for Lions Day at the U.N. in March.
Contact Antonio Sierra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0836.