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Lincoln Literary & Visual Art Contests

Lincoln Life Lessons State Winners
Student winners of the statewide Frances Leach High Prairie Arts & Science Complex Lincoln Life Lessons art and writing contests were announced January 2009. Seven upper and middle level teenage artists were selected by history, arts and English professors for their high-scoring, original pencil sketches, paintings, essays and poems that addressed Abraham Lincoln's impact on North Dakota and their own lives.

Winners awarded by Lt. Governor Dalrymple
The winners each receive an expense paid stay in Bismarck during the community's Lincoln Bicentennial celebration. Lt. Governor Jack Darlymple will present their awards at a the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND) reception at the Heritage Center on Lincoln's 200th birthday, February 12, and they will also be honored during High Prairie's public science and arts performance of Lincoln Life Lessons which features historical illustrator Steve Stark on February 11. In addition to several commemorative mementos, upper division winners each receive a $500 scholarship, while middle division winners receive a $100 arts and science exploration cash award.

Lincoln Life Lessons Upper Division Visual Art WINNER
The upper division winners include James M. Chattin of Devils Lake for his pencil artwork, The Crafting. Chattin writes in describing his entry, "Abe Lincoln had an advanced, leading hand in the crafting of the railroads that would stretch across a continent and unite a country... Those influences are what shaped America after Lincoln's time in office, and brought the Dakotas into the United States. Without those railways leading through the area, including running through my hometown [Devils Lake], the state of North Dakota would have likely remained poor prairie well into the 20th century; I myself would not be here in all likelihood."

Lincoln Life Lessons Upper Division Visual Art WINNER
Darcy Smith of Fort Totten won for her acrylic painting, Breaking the Chain. Describing her painting, she writes, "The colors around the edges represent the colors of the medicine wheel, which also represents my Native American heritage. The shape in the middle is North Dakota... The glasses and the eyes represent me because I am from North Dakota. Abraham Lincoln in the painting represents courage, because he was strong and was brave enough to go against half of the country and free the slaves. The broken chain stands for the breaking of boundaries Abraham Lincoln did. It also stands for the freed slaves and other minorities not being held back anymore."

Lincoln Life Lessons Upper Division Visual Art finalist
Winners of the upper division writing portion of the contest are Suzannah Miller of Mandan for her essay entitled Charity for All, in which she writes, "In North Dakota today, many still live by Lincoln's standards…. Our soldiers risking their lives to keep our country safe show that it isn't always easy to do the right thing. But when we live what Lincoln says, we not only better our society, we commemorate Lincoln… His words reflect an excellent role model: "With malice toward none; with charity for all."

LLL Middle Division Artist finalist
Tiffany Woodworth of Bismarck's winning poem, Snow and Dirt, draws heavily on two resources we have in abundance here in North Dakota. Through metaphor, Tiffany relays how Lincoln's actions allow us the ability to blur the harsh lines of difference that seem, on the surface, impossible to meld.


Lincoln Life Lessons Middle Division Visual Art WINNER
Middle division winners are Darcie Lujan of Dickinson for her pencil artwork, Legacies Never Fade. Reshab Kumar of Bismarck wrote the winning essay entitled Abraham Lincoln's Influence on North Dakota, in which he observes, "Wherever we look [in North Dakota], we stumble on President Lincoln's name. Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Lincoln City, Lincoln Street, Lincoln Highways, Lincoln school, Lincoln coins and Lincoln cars…. It reminds us what he stood for and achieved....North Dakota is grateful to [Lincoln] for preserving the Union and jumpstarting the Dakota Territory."

Lincoln Life Lessons Middle Division Visual Art finalist
Saidee Oberlander of Valley City was awarded for her poem, Abe, Me & My Home. She penned,

…He saved us from slavery
He established Thanksgiving
He changed our lives
It's like he's still living.

Lincoln Life Lessons Middle Division finalist
Many other students from around the state submitted poetry, essays and visual art that are also on display at High Prairie during February 2009.

The Frances Leach High Prairie Arts and Science Complex Lincoln Life Lessons project received support from Bismarck Parks & Recreation District, the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the North Dakota Humanities Council, Dr. Thomas and Katie Hutchens, Starion Financial, BNC National Bank, and many other community partners.

Contest entries meeting the following criteria were accepted-

Lincoln Life Lessons Visual Art Finalist
Art: Watercolor / Oil & Acrylic / Charcoal
Writing: Story / Poetry / Essay
Entry Deadline: December 12, 2008
Entry Forms