‘Love’ the overall winner in Climate Hope Cards youth art contest

More than 300 churches. More than 40 states. And nearly 900 works of art by church youth, from preschoolers to high schoolers.

All to promote environmental justice and hope for the future of the Earth’s climate.

To wrap up an art contest that began last fall, the United Church of Christ’s Environmental Justice Ministries announced the winning Climate Hope Cards entries. The young people and their artwork were revealed during an award ceremony Jan. 14 on Zoom.

The five talented winners were:

Each of the winning artists will receive a “goodie bag” with climate-related gifts, according to campaign organizer Andy Wells-Bean.

The overall winning submission to the Climate Hope Cards art contest, by 16-year-old Mallory Luca.

Meanwhile, the overall winning design — a depiction of the planet surrounded by rays with the word “Love” signed over it — will be printed on postcards. These new Climate Hope Cards then will be available for local congregations to order and send to their lawmakers at a later date.

The winner

Mallory Luca, the young artist responsible, was eager to participate in the contest and grateful to be chosen out of so many strong entries.

“I am so excited that my postcard will make a difference and be seen by many,” she said. “I hope this will help, even in a small way, protect our environment and planet. We have a long road ahead of us.”

“Mallory took part in this Climate Hope Card contest with a discussion on climate control and Environmental Justice Ministries with her small UCC church youth group,” said Mallory’s mother, Andrea. “They talked about how, even though they are small, everyone can make a big difference with love for our planet, created by God, to help make it shine. With this discussion came the idea for the art on the postcard. 

“We are so blessed with so many things on this earth; with our love, we can all take care of it.”

Soon, Mallory’s message of love for the Earth hopefully will be spread far and wide, as a postcard.

“I look forward to seeing it when it is completed, and it’s awesome to know I helped to make a small change,” Mallory said. 

“We are so excited to put your art on a postcard and send it around the country,” Wells-Bean said during the ceremony. “We know that it’s going to land with an impact. It’s all about love: love for the Earth and all of its inhabitants.”

‘Amazing’ response

The number of congregations that participated in the contest “blew us away,” Well-Bean told attendees. He called the response to the contest, and the art that it produced, “amazing.”

“This contest grew out of the idea and the acknowledgment that we’re in the midst of ongoing climate and environmental justice crises that interlock and overlap in complex and really, sometimes, devastating ways,” Wells-Bean said. “And that can be scary. It can be really hard to grapple with. And we are called to fight for a livable planet for ourselves, for our people and for all people across the globe.

And so, with a spirit of hope for that future, UCC kiddos were invited to draw, color, paint — and some were more creative than that — to create art about climate hope, environmental justice and protecting the Earth.​”

Entries were judged on how well they incorporated the theme of climate hope, artistic ability and how they would work as a postcard design.

“One of the criteria, for me, for a piece of art that really I find compelling and interesting, is the extent to which I continue thinking about it days or weeks after I’ve seen it,” Wells-Bean said.

Many of the art submissions for this contest, he added, fit that criterion.

A ‘rich legacy’

During the event, the Rev. Brooks Berndt, UCC minister for environmental justice, highlighted the significance of youth participation in social justice movements — especially given the timing of the award ceremony, occurring on the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

He noted that the Rev. Benjamin Chavis Jr. — a UCC minister who became a “leading public figure in the birth of the environmental justice movement” — began working as a youth coordinator for King when he was 15.

“And so we have this rich legacy given to us and that we have the opportunity to take on and be a part of,” Berndt said.

A recording of the Climate Hope Cards Art Contest award ceremony is available on the UCC’s YouTube channel.

Berndt described the movement for climate justice as a journey down a river.

“We’re really fortunate that we’ve got some younger people who are on this journey, and they are pointing out the beauty that’s all along the way: the eagle’s nest and the deer and the fish. And that’s really, I think, what has happened with this art contest,” he said. “We’ve got young people who have pointed us to hope and pointed us to that which is life-giving and that which is beautiful.”

To learn more about the campaign and next steps, visit the Climate Hope Cards page.


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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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