Young Artists' Views of the River

5th grader Joey Jacobson's Grand Prize Caring for the River art

By Brian Goodspeed

When kids look at the Mississippi River, what do they see? Eagles make a big impression. Varied versions of our national bird popped up in all four categories of the National Park Service’s annual Big River Art Contest.

4th grader Cecilia Faust's Grand Prize Mighty Mississippi art

This year, more than 500 students and schools submitted artwork.
Judges had a tough job selecting a total of sixteen winners in four categories:  The Mighty Mississippi, Caring for the River, Big River Journey and Journey to the Falls.  Mighty Mississippi and Caring for the River categories are open to all 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. Big River Journey and Journey to the Falls categories are reserved for participants in Big River Journey and Journey to the Falls field trip programs.

Outfitted with markers, crayons, pencils and paint, the young artists depicted a curious otter, gnawing beaver, and a few self-portraits of kids spying the river through binoculars. The youthful landscapes show urban river scenes and a riverboat floating past puffy canopies of leafy trees. Some young artists drew detailed images of boats and their gizmos and gear.

5th grader Phelameena Lee's Grand Prize Big River Journey art

Other kids set down on paper their own perspectives of the river, including trash floating alongside fish, reminders to “keep it clean,” and a sweet striped map of the river’s watershed labeled, “The river is in us.”

5th grader Joey Jacobson's Grand Prize Caring for the River art

The National Park Service honored all sixteen Big River Art Contest winners at a reception aboard the Minnesota Centennial Showboat in September. Each student went up on stage and spoke about his or her work to an audience of a hundred people, including families, friends, teachers and principals.

Eventually, all the winning artwork will be on display at the Mississippi River Visitor Center, located in the lobby of the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul. All sixteen top artworks are also on our Facebook page.

The National Park Service honored the sixteen winners at a September reception aboard the Minnesota Centennial Showboat. Each student went up on stage and spoke about his or her work to an audience of a hundred people, including families, friends, teachers and principals.

Eventually, all the winning artwork will be on display at the Mississippi River Visitor Center. You can check out the four grand prize winning artworks here and see all sixteen top artworks at missriverfund.org

Congratulations to all the 2014 winning artists, listed here, along with their schools and teachers.

Mighty Mississippi 
Grand Prize Cecilia Faust 4th grade Red Rock Elem/Jamie Swenson
Winner Eltaw Bwell  5th grade Como Park Elem/Laurie Halverson
Winner Sonny Czyscon 5th grade Como Park Elem/Mary Wald
Winner Rebecca Hatfull 4th grade Red Rock Elem/Jamie Swenson

Caring for the River 
Grand Prize Joey Jacobson 5th grade Sunny Hollow Montessori/ Gillett Cole
Winner Lilly Klett 5th grade Como Park Elem/Laurie Halverson
Winner T’Kai Baker  th grade Como Park Elem/Laurie Halverson
Winner Netanya Sadoff 5th grade Pinewood Community School/Jana Flanagan

Big River Journey 
Grand Prize Phelameena Lee  5th grade Como Park Elem/Laurie Halverson
Winner Dominic Guggenberger 5th grade Como Park Elem/Laurie Halverson
Winner D’Marco Anderson  5th grade Como Park Elem/Stephen Belsito
Winner Sophia Barjesten     4th grade Red Rock Elem/Jamie Swenson

Journey to the Falls
Grand Prize Emma Miller 6th grade Lake Harriet Community School/Debra Krawetz
Winner Rachel Springer 6th grade Lake Harriet Community School/Debra Krawetz
Winner Sophia Ostergren 6th grade Lake Harriet Community School/Debra Krawetz
Winner Katie Schroeer  6th grade Lake Harriet Community School/Debra Krawetz