Fourth graders from around the local area and from the U.S. are invited once again to participate in the annual George Washington Carver National Monument Art and Essay Contest.
“The theme this year is ‘If I Could Spend the Day with George Washington Carver…,’” said Diane Eilenstein, park ranger.
“Students are invited to fill in the blanks and create an essay describing their day with Dr. Carver or create some artwork to illustrate their day with Dr. Carver. It is open to any fourth grader whether they are home schooled, public schooled, private schooled, whether they live in the area or if they live long distance. I handed out a packet of information to a little girl who was visiting for the holidays from Texas, so she is going to participate this year.”
Those wanting to enter can do so free of charge.
The contest, held in conjunction of Black History Month, helps students learn more about the life of Carver. Contest information is available on the park website at www.nps.gov/gwca at the “For Teachers” link, on the park’s Facebook page, and also on the Facebook page of the Carver Birthplace Association. Call the park if you would like to receive materials by mail. Entries must be received or postmarked by Feb. 15. Please mail or bring entries to: George Washington Carver National Monument, 5646 Carver Rd., Diamond 64840.
“The program needs to be curriculum based or useful for our teachers and obviously it is always good for fourth graders to practice their essay writing that is good for them,” she said. “But also gets them involved in research, so they learn more about GWC and the national park. It also allows them some creative expression through their artwork as well as their essay. So the idea is to bring the children into more research during Black History Month and to learn more about GWC.”
A few years ago, some changes were made to the art category.
“We have a category that is 2-D artwork, so that can be drawings, flat drawings, paintings, print making, mixed media,” she said. “We also have 3-D they may maybe want to create mobiles or dioramas or models, or sculptures. There are size limitations on all of these. We even added a group category, so group work in the art category is also being awarded.”
Eilenstein said in the past, they have received between 700-1,000 entries.
“We have all felt that it has been very successful to have opened ended questions or statements for our theme,” she said. “Last year, one of the new category group projects, we had a really cool poster that was created out of natural materials. They had placed a lot of natural materials, painted them and organized them. We have had entire classrooms make mobiles or dioramas, different types of models. We have had a lot of reused materials such as giant tin cans being used to make artistic expressions. So really the field is wide open for what they want to create but they just need to check the rules to see what the size limitations are.”
Page 2 of 2 - An awards ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 30. in the park visitor center. Certificates, ribbons, trophies, and U.S. Savings Bonds will be awarded.
George was born a slave on the Moses and Susan Carver farm about 1864. When George was an infant, outlaws kidnapped him and his mother, Mary. George was later found in Arkansas and was returned to the Carvers, but his mother was never found.
Carver became famous later in life when he studied plants, flowers and invented several uses for the common peanut. He later taught at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and in 1921, he gave a captivating testimony before a United States Congress House Committee debating a peanut tariff bill. On Jan. 5, 1943, Carver died at Tuskegee, where he is buried. In July 1943, Congress designated George Washington Carver National Monument, which was the first park to honor an African-American scientist, educator and humanitarian.
For more information, please call the monument at 325-4151.