Art contest winners illustrate inspiration

Six Washington artists have been selected as winners of the Kaiser Permanente Kids’ Cheer Sign Art Contest! Entries poured in from all over the state from young people wanting to show their support for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle. Winners are receiving a special prize package that includes tickets to the Opening Ceremony, and Kaiser Permanente is sending every art contest entrant a commemorative pin to thank them for their participation. And now for the winners…

Most inspirational
8 and under 9–12 13–17
Best use of sports images
8 and under 9–12 13–17

About the art contest

Kaiser Permanente held the cheer sign art contest to help introduce the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and the Special Olympics organization to our members and the larger community. The goal was to get kids and their parents thinking and talking about the importance of everyone having the opportunity to thrive. “Inclusion only happens if we’re talking about it. And this contest got people talking about it,” said Tyler Bjork, Special Olympics Washington senior manager. “Kids are involved and having a conversation about Special Olympics and inclusion.”

One of the athletes competing in the Games, Devon Adelman, summed up how she felt about so many young artists participating in the contest, getting excited about the Games, and sending positive thoughts and inspiration to her and her fellow competitors: “It’s amazing, and it’s a big honor.”

How the winners were selected

Almost 3 dozen finalists were chosen in early June by Kaiser Permanente Washington staff. Those finalists were presented at the Washington Athletic Club in downtown Seattle to a group of judges that included some of the Team Washington athletes competing in the Games, their coaches and parents, and Special Olympics Washington staff members. They were joined by Jessie Fudge, MD, who is a Kaiser Permanente sports medicine physician and the chief medical officer for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

Special Olympics Team Washington athletes and staff judge the Kaiser Permanente Kids’ cheer Sign Art Contest.

After a round of voting, there was a tie in the 9–12 “Best use of sports images” category. The judges gathered round and cast their votes again, with President and CEO of Special Olympics Washington, Dave Lenox, casting the tie-breaking vote. “The cool thing is that this contest makes young people think about the athletes,” he said. “It’s interesting that none of the art here focuses on a disability. It’s all just ‘Go for the gold!’ It’s all very encouraging.”

All of the judges were impressed by the thoughtfulness and the skill of the artists. “I like the symbolism of holding hands. I wish I could create something like that!” said Dr. Fudge about the inspirational art created by Tiffany in the 9–12 age group. Athlete Lizzie Enriquez-Ortiz really liked the art created by Mackenzie in the 8 and under age group. “I like the podium, and going for the gold. I see myself at the top of the podium!” she said. Devon Adelman, athlete and Special Olympics ambassador for the Games, was particularly taken with the art by Leqi in the 9–12 age group. “I love it! I’m really drawn into it. I love the message and the Seattle skyline,” she said.

Where to see the art

Stop by the Kaiser Permanente booth that will be located in the Fan Zone in front of Husky Stadium along Montlake Boulevard during the Games. The winning art will be featured as cheer signs we’ll be handing out, and our booth will feature a video that includes all the art entries. Thanks again to all the young artists for their participation, and for their fun, inspirational, and inclusive creations!