Memphis International Airport Art Contest

WSHS artists give taste of Memphis.

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Memphis International Airport Art Contest


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Five million people pass through the Memphis International Airport each year.  That’s five million people who will see the artwork of young Memphis artists, including that of seven WSHS students. 

The airport sponsors an annual contest for Memphis area high school artists.  The theme: Memphis Music, Sights, and Sounds.  Applicants submit a 10” x 14” miniature of their proposed painting.  Winners receive a set of acrylic paints, a 36” x 48” canvas and a due date.  From the winning paintings, one is printed on airport merchandise—mugs, t-shirts and the like.  In addition, airport travellers can—and often do – buy the paintings for the artist’s profit.

Junior Cecile Kessler, a French foreign exchange student and one of the winners, wanted to compete because her work could stay here in Memphis even after she returns to France.

“I like that when I go back to France I’ll go through the airport and be able to see my painting and say, ‘I did that,’” Kessler said.

The contest gives concourse B a taste of Memphis and provides opportunity to young artists, including senior Taylor Love, who has never sold her work before.

“I also like to paint, so I get to paint a giant canvas for free,” Love said.

Some challenges Love and the other artists face are “to make sure the dimensions match and that it still looks good because the bigger version needs more details.

Other winners include Abigail Burns (11), Gali Du (12), Ja’Sean Holmes (9), Amber Jones (9), Nithila Ramesh (10), and Shuyi Sun (11).