For the fifth year in a row, high school students from all over Utah are making a statement on air quality through art.

The winners of the 2020 Utah High School Clean Air Poster Contest were announced at Utah State University’s Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art earlier this month.

The Utah High School Clean Air Poster Contest was created in 2015 by Roslynn Brain McCann of USU Extension Sustainability, and Edwin Stafford, a professor at the John M. Huntsman School of Business.

McCann and Stafford have conducted extensive research on the “Inconvenient Youth” effect, the idea that teens engaging their parents in conversation about specific ways they can create less pollution can result in their parents making more environmentally conscious decisions, if even only slightly.

“Youth have significant influence on their parents,” McCann stated in the press release. “Our research shows that the contest is having an impact beyond just teens in educating Utahns about how to help keep the air healthy.”

Posters created by the top 50 finalists were displayed at NEHMA as part of February’s Community Art Day. NEHMA hosts Community Art Day, where free, family-friendly activities are available to all patrons, the second Saturday of each month.

The 50 finalists also won $50 worth of gift cards or merchandise each, which were donated by various Utah businesses and organizations.

“Of key interest is that the contest continues to expand across the state, and Granger High School in West Valley City had about 500 of its students participate, resulting in 14 finalists from that school alone,” Stafford wrote in an email to The Herald Journal. “The Utah Museum of Fine Arts has become a major sponsor of the poster contest having provided all the $50 gift card prizes for the student winners at Granger High School in West Valley City.”

The 50 finalists advanced to the state competition, where 17 winners were chosen. Those winners won cash awards donated by Utah businesses, citizens, and organizations, all ranging from $100 to $250 in value.

The winning posters will also be showcased in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts spring 2021 exhibition, which has tentatively been titled “Air.” The exhibition will feature all sorts of artwork by local, national and international artists, all of which make a statement on air and air quality.

“Through this exhibition we have a few different goals. One is really to convey the power of air as a life force. We also want to increase awareness in air pollution, and we want to encourage socially and environmentally responsible behavior through this show,” said Annie Burbidge Ream, the curator of education, K-12 learning and engagement at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. “We’re excited for the opportunity to be able to focus on air in a kind of immersive way, but also in a way that brings a lot of different ideas together.”

The schools that participated in the 2020 Utah Clean Air Poster Contest were Fast Forward Charter High School, Grand County High School, Granger High School, Green Canyon High School, Logan High School, Mountain Crest High School, Preston High School, Ridgeline High School, and West Side High School.

The 17 winners who will have their posters showcased in the “Air” exhibition were, in no particular order, Danielle Anderson, Ridgeline High School, $250 Cache Valley Electric Award; Marley Wybrow, Ridgeline High School, $250 Utah Hospital Association Award; Alicia Renquist, Granger High School, $250 Utah Hospital Association Award; Anika Schear, Grand County High School, $200 Malouf Award; Juan Romero, Granger High School, $200 Conservice Award; Noely Morales, Granger High School, $200 Healthy Human Habitat Award; Adrien Vega, Logan High School, $150 Campbell Scientific Award; Abigail Fuller, Preston High School, $100 Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Award; Haley Stafford, Logan High School, $100 USU Credit Union Award; Molica Chao, Granger High School, $100 Wasatch Property Management Award; Seina Shimbakuro, West Side High School, $100 Cache Valley Chamber of Commerce Award; Jada Baugh, Ridgeline High School, $100 Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art Award; Carlie Harper and Nura Omer, Logan High School, $100 Cache Valley Bank Award; Rylie Galloway, Preston High School, $100 Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation Award; Presley Shewell, Ridgeline High School, $100 Cache Valley Electric Award; and Ailyn Fernandez, Logan High School, $50 Cache Valley Electric Honorable Mention Award.

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