St. Agnes fifth-graders Luis Cervantes and Kennedy Campbell refine poems written as letters to God they will submit to the “Expressions of Faith” contest. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
St. Agnes fifth-graders Luis Cervantes and Kennedy Campbell refine poems written as letters to God they will submit to the “Expressions of Faith” contest. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Attention all students: Your artwork and writing might be worth something.

The “Expressions of Faith” publishing and scholarship competition invites Catholic school students in kindergarten through eighth-grade to submit a poem, short story or piece of art. Students have up to 800 words of poetry, 2,500 words of prose and a blank canvas to express their faith by Jan. 31.

Expressions of Faith:

Catholic school K-8 -students can submit prose, poetry or artwork by Jan. 31 to Leonine Publishers, PO Box 8099, Phoenix, AZ 85066 or email submissions@leoninepublishers.com.

Masters of Tomorrow:

High school and community college students can submit photos of 2D or 3D artwork of any media or subject matter. Info: Michael Tole at (480) 878-6708 or  mtole@ben.edu.

A balanced selection will represent all age and grade levels in a forthcoming “Expressions of Faith” book published by Leonine Publishers, a local company named after Pope Leo XIII.

Proceeds from book sales will fund one scholarship for an eighth-grader from each participating school to attend the high school of their choice.

“I see this as a first step to encouraging our children to use their imagination and to be inspired by God’s gifts to us,” said Patty O’Neal who is coordinating the effort with approval from the diocesan Catholic Schools Office.

“Children are natural artists,” O’Neal said. “Somewhere, they lose that spontaneity. I really believe we need to encourage and validate those gifts, so we are starting with the esteem of becoming a published author or artist.”

Fifth-graders at St. Agnes are already working on heartfelt poetry to submit for publishing. Third-graders are considering polishing a journal entry reflecting on and illustrating Scripture.

Laura Rayes with Leonine Publishers said the final full-color pages will also include teacher highlights to profile how teachers incorporate art, poetry and short stories into the curriculum.

‘Masters of Tomorrow’

All Arizona high school and community college students can compete for the best 2D and 3D artist at each school level. Winners will receive $500 with two “best in show” winners earning scholarship reduction at Benedictine University in Mesa, one of two sponsors of the exhibit and competition.

Online submissions are already coming in well ahead of the Feb. 1, 2014 deadline. Subject matter is up to the artist.

Although ineligible, current BenU students explored “the moral implications of beauty” through their art classes this semester. Michael Tole, a BenU art professor and one of three exhibit jurors, said his students — ages 18 to 72 — are passionate about creating art with meaning.

“Art provides a safe forum for the contemplation and discussion of all societal issues, from morality to the role of technology in contemporary society,” Tole said.

He called art “visual philosophy” with the Church making effective use of it through the ages.

High school and community college students can submit up to five images. The top 100 student artists in the competition will have their piece on exhibit at BenU’s Gillett Hall for one month.

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