Arts in the Parks Calendar Winners Announced

ent--article_ _media__contact">Media Contact: Chris Holmes, 512-389-4880,; Katy Schaffer, 512-389-8046,

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AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Arts in the Parks program announced the 24 winners of the Texas State Parks Youth Arts Contest, which ran from May 1 to Nov. 1. The winning art pieces are featured in a 2016 calendar.

The contest is part of a larger national competition organized by the “Get to Know” organization, which encourages kids to get outside and share their outdoor experiences through art. Prizes include digital and underwater cameras, camcorders, art supplies, binoculars, fishing rods, writing supplies and more. Winners selected from the Texas State Park entries will receive Junior Ranger daypacks, caps and water bottles.

The Arts in the Parks program, which started in 2013, provides a creative outlet for kids to showcase the beauty of Texas state parks through art, photography, writing, videography and music.

The program has grown steadily over the last three years. This year, the calendar contest received over 200 entries, a threefold increase from 2013. More and more parks statewide are hosting art workshops throughout the year, including classes taught by professional artists.

“We are really excited to see our park staff embracing arts in our parks,” said Chris Holmes, director of Interpretive Services for the State Parks Division. “The natural and cultural setting of state parks affords us all a way to express our creativity. We saw some incredible and touching work by children inspired by certain parks this year and can’t wait to see more next year.”

Several of this year’s 200 entries came from a high school art class in Presidio. The students’ teacher, Laurie Holman, organized a workshop in the Big Bend Ranch State Park area, where the students painted landscapes and animal portraits and took pictures of the surrounding scenery.

“The one thing I try to make the students see is that they live in one of the most beautiful places in Texas,” Holman said. “Many of these kids have never lived anywhere else and do not travel much, so they maybe do not realize how lucky they are to get to see and experience their everyday surroundings. We are all very lucky here.”

Three of the more than 20 submissions from these students were chosen to be featured in the 2016 calendar.

For a PDF copy of this year’s calendar, visit the Arts in the Parks page. Learn how to enter next year’s contest on this page, too.

To see this year’s entries, visit the Texas State Parks gallery.

To find an art workshop near you, visit the arts & crafts and photography event pages on our calendar.