WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Education opened its sixth annual Student Artist Competition (SAC) Winners’ Exhibit today in the Department lobby, featuring 21 art and nine writing entries chosen from more than 1,000 art and writing entries from more than 250 tribes in 34 states. The competition celebrates the value and successes of education in Native American communities and is open to all American Indian and Alaska Native students in preschool through grade 12.
“This exhibit is a testament to the value of a public education that embraces Native Americans’ rich cultural heritage,” said Charlie P. Rose, general counsel of the Department. “Through this display of student artwork, audiences can witness a passionate celebration of Native American culture.”
The exhibit opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will honor winners of the art and writing awards from around the country. Following the ceremony, students will take a guided tour of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Rose will deliver remarks at the opening. Additional remarks will be given by Carolyn Webb de Macias, chief of staff of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), Samilou Smith, an art teacher in Maryetta School District in Oklahoma whose nine students are in the show as 2010 SAC winners, Keevin Lewis, museum program coordinator of the Smithsonian Institution’s Emerging Artist Program, and two of the 11th- and 12th-grade first-place winners for art and writing, Macklin Becenti (Navajo) and Berdina Nieto (Santo Domingo/Kewa).
Clayton Old Elk (Crow) will open the ceremony with a traditional blessing, and Dennis Zotigh (Kiowa) of the National Museum of the American Indian will be featured in a musical cultural performance.
Sponsored by the Office of Indian Education (OIE) in the Department’s OESE, the SAC started in 2005 with only 138 student art entries. Over the course of the next year, the exhibit will travel across the country and be shown at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Oklahoma History Center, Sisseton School District, Towanits Education Center, John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum, Quapaw Tribal Library, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
To participate in the competition, Native American students submitted art and writing related to this year’s theme, Bringing Honor Through Education. The Department’s OIE hopes to inspire students to explore the connection between their education and culture through art and writing.
The traveling exhibit demonstrates students’ artistic talents and is a testament to American Indian and Alaska Native students’ visions of their education and culture. More information about the exhibit as well as past and future competitions can be found at http://kids.indianeducation.org/sac