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Blanco County students paint for the stars

The Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky (BCFNS) last week concluded its 2021 Night Sky Art Contest for students at the high schools and middle schools in both Blanco and Johnson City. The contest, whose theme was “Discover the Night – Deep in the Dark of Texas™,” drew entries from 126 students. Two sets of cash prizes ranging from $100 to $10 were awarded.

Marlen Torres’ painting took 1st place in the High School competition

Marlen Torres’ painting took 1st place in the High School competition

“We were excited to once again challenge these very talented students to express their love for the night sky through their art,” said Vicki Guidry, BCFNS Vice-President. “This was our second contest, and we intend to make it an annual event as it gives us a chance to educate young people about the effects of light pollution on our health, the wellbeing of animals, and our beautiful Texas Night Sky.  This event is coordinated with the International Dark Sky Week that is always in April.”

Winning First Place in the High School category was Marlen Torres whose painting impressed the judges by cleverly and artfully combining a starry desert panorama with an abstract Texas State flag in which the scene itself became the flag, all beneath a brilliant Texas night sky.

Taking 1st place in the Middle School category was Erin Mahoney

Taking 1st place in the Middle School category was Erin Mahoney

Taking the top spot in the Middle School category was Erin Mahoney whose painting was an aspirational work that combined elements of astronomy and night sky preservation activism to render a pristine night sky above Texas.

All judges agreed that selecting the best entries from those submitted was a tough job. Entries were judged on the basis of: 1) did it clearly illustrate the theme of the contest and 2) the artistic quality of the submission.  Judges included local artists, Leta Garcia and Karen Roesch, as well as BCFNS member, Bob Heinonen, and those shown in the accompanying photos.

Guidry continued, “We would like to thank art teachers Diane Hudson (Johnson City Middle School and High School), Kris Baker (Blanco Middle School), and Callida Borgnino (Blanco High School), for their excellent support of this event as well as Blanco’s Gem of the Hills Community Center for allowing us to use its facilities for our judging.”

Learn more about Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky here.

Displaying the prize-winning artwork at Johnson City High School are: Kneeling (l to r): Marlen Torres (1st place), Bree Herrera (5th place); Standing (l to r) Diane Hudson (Art Teacher), Vicki Guidry (BCFNS), Trinity Rendon (Honorable Mention), Neely Burrier (4th place), Ava Hermes (3rd place), and Barbara Hudson (BCFNS)

Displaying the prize-winning artwork at Johnson City High School are: Kneeling (l to r): Marlen Torres (1st place), Bree Herrera (5th place); Standing (l to r) Diane Hudson (Art Teacher), Vicki Guidry (BCFNS), Trinity Rendon (Honorable Mention), Neely Burrier (4th place), Ava Hermes (3rd place), and Barbara Hudson (BCFNS)