Art competition offers scholarship opportunity, uses State Capitol for inspiration

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah State Capitol building is viewed as a work of art by some Utahns, and this fall it will serve as the inspiration for high school students entering a visual arts scholarship competition sponsored by the Utah Senate.

Jean Tokuda Irwin of the Utah Division of Arts and Museums said art inspired the building that is now inspiring art.

“Look at just this building alone,” Irwin said. “If it weren’t for the artists, the architects, the painters, you wouldn’t have the lovely building  that we have today.”

High school students from around the state are invited to participate in the new visual arts scholarship competition, and the first prize for the Capitol inspired projects is $5,000, with smaller amounts awarded for the places 2nd through 25th.

Irwin said art is an important part of culture.

“An artist, evidence of their existence is all over this hill, and I think many civilizations are judged by the artwork that they leave behind,” Irwin said.

Irwin said the winning artwork will be reproduced for each of the senators, and the original will be on display in the Senate Suite.

Earlier this week, students from Juan Diego Catholic High School visited the Capitol, some for the very first time. They met with Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-District 9, who is helping to sponsor the competition.

The students also walked around the building, taking photos and sketching.

“We are just trying to find, like, different views which would suit the contest better and like, inspire us," said Patrick Bigsby, who is a junior attending Juan Diego.

The selection committee is accepting two-dimensional original visual art images of the exterior of the Capitol. Irwin said access to the arts is important to any child's education and is part of what makes a person well-rounded.

“One of the reasons I love living here, and I'm not from Utah, is because there is so much access to extraordinary art and lots of opportunities for kids,” Irwin said.

Entries are due by November 14, click here for more details on the completion and information about entering.

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