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The art of peace

Local club supports international poster contest

NORTH LIBERTY– These are peaceful lions.
The North Liberty branch of the Lions Club recognized 13 area children who participated in the international organization’s Peace Poster contest at the local club’s meeting Dec. 10, at the North Liberty Community Library.
Students in Yvette Jury’s Marogér Fine Arts studio in Coralville were invited to create peace-themed posters as part of the annual art contest organized by Lions Club International and sponsored by local chapters. According to the Lions Club International website, the contest, 25 years in existence, encourages young people worldwide to express their visions of peace. Children ages 11 to 13 years old from nearly 100 countries have participated. This year, more than 450,000 entries were submitted.
It was the first time for the North Liberty Lions Club to join the international event.
Local chapter members judge the artwork and choose a winner. The first place winner from each local chapter advances to the district level of competition, with state and international levels to follow. The international grand prize winner receives a cash award of $5,000 and a trip to a special awards ceremony.
North Liberty Lions Club members chose 13-year-old Lydia Guo, a West High student, as the local first place winner. They also recognized second and third place winners Penny Wilkins, 12, and Emily Xian, 11, as well as giving honorable mention to 13-year-old Anna Carmen.
“It was not easy for us to judge these 13. We were very impressed by the various interpretations of peace and the artistic abilities in these young children,” said North Liberty Lions Club secretary Lori Short. “They really did a fantastic job.”
Short said it was evident a lot of research and thought went into each piece of art, including representations of flags, countries and cultures worldwide.
On Dec. 10 in North Liberty, artists and their families were invited to join the Lions’ meeting. Each artist was asked to share his or her creation and explain the thought process behind the piece about peace.
Guo’s winning poster depicted a dove flying above a group of dolls dressed in traditional clothing of nations from around the world, sitting in a circle and quilting fabric representing the earth. Her piece was inspired by the song “It’s a Small World,” she said, and portrays the concept of people working together in harmony.
“Peace is not something that can be given or won,” Guo said. “It is a destination we reach by building a path to it, together.”
All of the poster images, as well as the artists’ comments, resonated with Lions Club member Ray Haas.
“I left our last meeting marveling at the ideas I saw coming out of elementary aged and junior high people, and I wondered, what I was thinking about peace when I was that age?” said Haas. “I really couldn’t recall too much. It was a turbulent time because I grew up during the Vietnam War and there were demonstrations taking place all around the country. So, to see peace coming from a creative perspective really brought a sense of solace and a good feeling to my heart. So kids, keep up the work of peace beyond the piece of paper, and spread it beyond the community and into the world.”
Lions Club International is the world’s largest service organization, providing assistance to people with vision and hearing needs and diabetes issues. In addition, local chapters address needs within their own communities. The North Liberty Lions Club, one of 350 chapters in Iowa, sponsors early vision screenings, provides hearing aid and eye glasses assistance and recycling, keeps a stretch of Interstate 380 free of trash, hosts an annual Breakfast with Santa event, and has contributed to efforts like the North Liberty Youth Baseball and Softball league’s recent fundraising drive.
Short invited anyone interested in learning more to attend a meeting. The North Liberty Lions Club meets the second Thursday of each month, at 6:15 p.m., at the North Liberty Community Library.