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TOWNSEND — The Townsend VFW Post 6538 Ladies Auxiliary is sponsoring the Young American Creative Patriotic Art Awards in conjunction with the Department of Massachusetts and the National VFW Ladies Auxiliaries.

Through the program, high-school students will have the opportunity to use their artistic talents to express their patriotism while competing for cash at the local and state levels for funds to further their education at the national level.

The Ladies Auxiliary will award $35 to its first-place winner, $25 to its second-place finisher and $15 to the third- place finisher. The Townsend Auxiliary’s winning entry will be entered into the Department of Massachusetts VFW Auxiliary competition, where $2,000 will be awarded to the first-place winner and $100 will be given to the second-place finisher.

The state’s winning art piece will be entered into the national competition, where scholarships of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second, $2,5000 for third, $1,500 for fourth and $500 each for fifth through eighth places will be awarded.

The first-place national winner will also receive a plaque and airfare, plus two nights lodging to attend the 2012 Ladies Auxiliary National Convention in Reno, Nev. The first-place art will be featured on the cover of the “Ladies Auxially VFW Magazine” and the Auxiliary website. Second- and third-place winners in the national contest will be featured in the magazine, and all top eight winning entries will be featured on the Ladies Auxiliary VFW website.

The Townsend Auxiliary’s Young American Creative Patriotic Art Awards program is open to students in grades nine through 12 who attend school or are home-schooled in Massachusetts. All eligible youngsters are encouraged to enter the program.

The art must be on paper or canvas using water color, pencil, pastel, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen-and-ink or oil. A digital art mat be used, but must be on paper or canvas. No discs will be accepted. When submitting digital art, all images need to be original. One may not scan in or otherwise use photos or art created by others. All images incorporated must be the artist’s own and not taken from publications or outside sources.

Entries should not be framed. Canvas entries should be submitted on stretcher frames, while other entries must be matted on white. It is strongly recommended that heavy paper be used to reinforce the back of an entry, which is matted. Mounted and floating mats may also be used. The art should be no smaller that eight by ten inches nor larger than 18 by 24 inches, not including the mat. If the American flag is used in the entry, it must conform to the Federal Flag Code as far as color, number of stars and stripes, and other pertinent rules of the code. The art entry must have been done during the current school year. A completed official entry form bearing information about the artist, the signature of their art teacher, and a brief explanation of the patriotism expressed in the artwork must be attached to the back of each entry.

Entry forms and information about the program may be obtained from high-school art teachers or from Betty Mae Tenney of the Townsend Ladies Auxiliary VFW.

Each entry will be judged on the originality of concert, presentation and patriotism expressed, the content of how it related to patriotism and clarity of ideas, the design technique, total impact of work, and uniqueness.

All local Young American Creative Patriotic Art Awards entries must be submitted to Townsend Ladies Auxiliary VFW President Betty Mae Tenney by March 31.