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League of Women Voters holds reception for inaugural GoVote Poster Contest winners

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A reception and month’s long exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum celebrate the work of Kent County high school students

/Student artist Evalyna / LWVGGRA

Celebrate student artists!

GoVote Poster Contest Reception

Thursday, June 29, 6:00 PM 

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Artwork unveiled, winners honored, light refreshments served.

Tour the GRAM at no cost after the program. 

Open to the community. Join us!

/Student artist Sayal / LWVGGRA


Three Kent County high school students are making a trip to the Grand Rapids Art Museum later this month—to see their own artwork on display. The opportunity came about when their graphic design teacher at East Kentwood High School, Kim Meyers Baas, shared information about a contest earlier this year. 

In March 2023, the League of Women Voters of the Greater Grand Rapids Area (LWVGGRA) invited all Kent County high school students to submit original artwork to its inaugural GoVote Poster Contest. In keeping with the League’s 103-year-old history as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the LWVGGRA sought entries that were unaffiliated with a political party or candidate. Instead, students were asked to submit art focusing on the importance of using our votes to influence the direction of our democracy.

Evalyna, a sophomore from East Kentwood High School and the first place winner, took to heart the request for inspirational entries that would serve as a call to action.

“I wanted someone pointing at the audience,” she shared. 

Her winning entry draws inspiration from her interest in skateboarding and, she said, received helpful criticism from her peers along the way. A Rubik’s cube whiz, piano player, and member of her school’s robotics team, Evalyna hopes to pursue a career in engineering. 

Second place winner Sayal, who graduated from East Kentwood this spring, drew inspiration from the historical women’s suffrage movement. For third place winner Ayoush, the goal was to show that “everyone is involved [in democracy], no matter their race, religion, etc.”

Courtney Winell, Board Chair of the local League of Women Voters, knows that young and up-and-coming voters are vital to our democracy. 

“Engaging young voters is an important part of the League’s work. We have found over the years that by engaging voters from the time that they become eligible, these new voters are more likely to become lifelong voters, voting in most if not all election cycles. It is important that everyone who is eligible has an opportunity to participate in the process.”

From several inspiring entries, a panel of judges including Brett Colley (Professor of Studio Art, Grand Valley State University), Georgia Tardy (Artist & Educator), and James F. Horman (Architect, ProgressiveAE) selected 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place entries. Winning students were awarded $300, $200, and $100 respectively and their artwork will be on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) from June 29 through July 29, 2023.  

The community is invited to attend a reception on June 29 at 6:00 PM at the GRAM’s Monroe Center Creativity Space. The student winners and judges will be honored, the winning artwork will be unveiled, and League members will be available to share information about the League. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a tote bag with the winning artwork. Museum admission is free that evening and participants are invited to explore the galleries after the program. 

Winell says the GoVote Poster Contest is a vital piece of the League’s ongoing work. 

“The League of Women Voters has a history of promoting informed voter participation and enhanced citizen engagement. With these goals in mind, the LWVGGRA members have been active in our community, conducting voter registration drives and providing voter education opportunities. Our focus on young and potential voters inspires this contest, fundraiser, and our ultimate LWV goal of ‘Making Democracy Work.’ We hope this contest allows us to carry our message and enthusiasm to an even wider audience.”

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