Group Sponsors Annual Children's 'Freedom Art' Contest

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2009 - As it gears up for its 7th Annual Children's Freedom Art Contest, a North Carolina-based troop-support group is looking for patriotic drawings or paintings that signify the unyielding spirit of America after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"We initially started as a group that put up exhibits of patriotic photos sent to us," said Eileen A. Schwartz, founder of Flags Across the Nation. "About a year after the 9/11 attacks, we decided to launch a Freedom Art Contest for children. Throughout the year, we still do art-related exhibits and activities honoring our flag and America."

The children's artwork collected by Flags Across the Nation over the years has featured the U.S flag, the U.S. military, the American bald eagle and several national monuments. The artwork has been displayed in local galleries, military and veterans' locations and several airports across the country.

"We have sent the artwork overseas to troops and wounded warriors in Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany," Schwartz said. "The contest supports the creativity and the patriotic spirit of children. It also uplifts our troops. While participating in this contest, we hope the children think outside of themselves and think about how they can sweeten the lives of our military."

The required entry form is available on the group's Web site. The contest is open to children in grades 1 through 6 across America. They are allowed to use pencils, crayons, paint, makers and fabric -- but not glitter -- for their artwork. The piece should be on 8.5-by-11-inch paper and mailed to Flags Across the Nation, P. O. Box 78995, Charlotte, NC 28271-7045 by Aug. 7. None of the artwork will be returned.

The winner will be announced Sept. 11 on Flags Across the Nation's Web site. The grand prize winner's art will be featured on the Web site, and he or she will receive 13 note cards that feature the winning image. The grand prize winner also will receive a $50 U.S. savings bond. The art of 12 runners-up will be featured on the group's Web site and sent to deployed troops.

Schwartz said she is excited about this year's contest and believes the children will be inspired by their own artwork.

"The goal of this art contest is for children to express their love for freedom and America through art," she said. "It is our hope that they continue to value the freedoms that are bestowed to them in the USA. This contest supports the creativity and the patriotic spirit of children."

*Related Sites:*
Flags Across the Nation  [ ]
Group Sponsors Annual Children's 'Freedom Art' Contest [ ]