Inspired by the entries we received last year, we decided to host another art contest to help us illustrate the six local history articles in this issue, our 2016 Annual Guide. The contest was open to all high school students on the Cape and Islands—and the response was fantastic.
In total, we received 165 entries from students at nine Cape & Island high schools. There are acrylic and watercolor paintings as well as pencil drawings and digital images. We even received 18 relief sculptures! To choose the winners—and simply take in the magnitude of all the students’ work—we spread the artwork around our company conference room. The entries covered two large tables, and eight to ten chairs helped prop up additional paintings around the room. That was quite a scene—but all had to be cleared before the next day’s staff meeting, which started around noon.
For the contest, we provided a brief description of the articles planned for the issue, and the students just followed their creative inspirations. For example, for our article on the history of cranberry farming on the Cape, we received several paintings of bucolic bog scenes. We also received a watercolor depicting the perspective of a Cape Cod bog frog as well as a digital image of two hands holding the cranberry harvest—in the shape of a heart.
The subject matter that inspired the most entries was the disaster of the Essex, a Nantucket whaleship that was sunk by a whale in 1820. Adrift in three small whaleboats, the ship’s crew then endured a harrowing journey across the Pacific. As recounted in writer Nathaniel Philbrick’s mesmerizing book In the Heart of the Sea—the film was just released by Warner Bros.—most of the men of the Essex did not survive. We received many terrific entries for this topic including a handful of impressive sculptures featuring three-dimensional whales’ tales. We even created a special Grand Prize to honor St. John Paul II’s Nick Glaser for his spectacular acrylic painting, which appears on the opposite page.
Without any further ado, here are the 2016 contest winners. The students’ entries can be seen leading off the six history articles in this issue.