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Lions Peace Poster Contest Exhibit

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Every year, Zuzana Talbot serves as the proud promoter of the Spring Hill Nature Coast Lions Club division of the Lions Club International Peace Poster Contest. As a young girl, she herself participated in a peace-themed student art contest, a competition that served to inspire her future philanthropic efforts.

“At the age of five, I participated for the first time in the chalk drawing contest that used to be held annually in my hometown in the month of May. The theme was always the same: ‘Peace Through the Eyes of Children,’” Talbot said. “One entire street was closed for traffic for the day so kids could safely create their artwork. At the end of the day, the black asphalted road was covered with colorful pictures, and the otherwise quiet street came to life.”

Throughout her childhood, Talbot continued to contribute her own adorable artworks to a contest and a concept that meant a great deal to her. “I participated every year since my father was one of many volunteers – he just brought me with him, and I enjoyed it immensely. The contest was a highlight of the town’s spring events,” she said. “I recall that lots of children drew pictures involving soldiers, fighter jets or tanks, contrasting with blue sky and sun.”

Talbot applied her own signature touch to her competitive artworks. “My chalk artwork usually depicted a scene from a children’s story, as to my understanding, the word “peace” was basically a synonym of “love and good” which uniformly prevail over hatred and evil in all fairy tales,” she said.

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Soon, the creation of a few fun chalk drawings inspired a lifelong passion for Talbot. “Probably there, in my fond childhood memories of the small-town chalk drawing events several decades ago, is the root of my passion for the Lions Peace Poster contest,” she said. “It gives young people the opportunity to create art, express themselves on the theme so important to everyone on our planet, make memories that might last for a lifetime, make a difference.”

This year, the Spring Hill Nature Coast Lions Foundation challenged Hernando County middle school students to imagine the concept of peace without limits to offer their own special views of infinite world peace in the form of vivid and beautiful poster art. These stunning and thoughtful artistic visions will be on full display via an exhibit of artwork by those students who answered the call at the Spring Hill Branch Library as part of the Lions Club’s International Peace Poster Contest. See this superlative display of student art May 21–23 at the library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill.

The Hernando County Fine Arts Council sponsors this project through their Community Arts Grant program. “We are happy to provide funding to the Spring Hill Lions Club so that they are able to eliminate barriers by providing opportunities to students in the county who may not have access to art materials in the past and allowing each student to showcase their talent,” said Cheryl Hill, Community Arts Grants coordinator, Hernando County Fine Arts Council.

The Peace Poster Contest exhibit will take place on Tuesday, May 21, from 3 p.m.–6 p.m., Wednesday, May 22, from 11 a.m.–2 p.m., and Thursday, May 23, from 2 p.m.–5 p.m.

“In a nutshell, the year’s theme of the contest is ‘Peace Without Limits,’” said Zuzana Talbot, Nature Coast Lions Club .”We are going to collect the posters from the middle school teachers within the next couple of weeks.”

The Nature Coast Lions Club appreciates the support of the Hernando County Arts Council in making this year’s peace poster contest bigger and better than ever, even helping to supply vital stocks of art supplies to local schools and students.

“This year, we have received a Community Art Grant from the Hernando County Fine Arts Council, and we are helping to provide the art supplies to schools/students who are participating in the contest. Mr. Haddon from HCFAC is going to be our main judge again, as is David Guerrero, who is graduating from high school,” said Talbot.

Talbot is grateful for the support of the Hernando County Arts Council in making this project possible. “Hernando County Fine Arts Council approved a $1000 grant for the Lions International Peace Poster contest in Hernando county,” she said. “Our Lions Club is honored and proud to receive this great support.”

In addition, the public is invited to play an active role in this year’s contest. “We already have a banner in the Spring Hill Library with last year’s posters and some information about the Lions International Peace Poster Contest- through the month of May. May 21-23,” said Talbot. ‘This year, we’ll have the exhibit visitors vote for their favorite poster, and therefore, there will be the public’s choice winner too.”

The student artist who wins this year’s contest also wins the chance to compete at advanced levels in this highly popular event. “Best poster will go to the next level of judging–Central Florida district (11 counties) in the fall,” said Talbot. “Last year’s Hernando county winner, Melanie Gonzalez from Challenger K8, also won that district contest-1st place! We will be actually bringing her her prize and certificate on Tuesday.”

Furthermore, all participants in the peace poster contest will be encouraged to offer a multidimensional take on the concept of peace. “As a part of the contest, we ask the author of the winning poster to make a quote about Peace. The artwork, together with the quote, progresses to the next level of judging, ultimately reaching the international level of the contest. Without a doubt, all students who have participated in the contest have their own interpretation of the theme that they share with us through their art,” said Talbot. “However, I think it will be meaningful to ask each participant (not only the winner) in future contests to make a quote about Peace. The future belongs to the children of today, and we are here to help them create the world in which they want to live.”

All entries will be judged in accordance with a trio of criteria. “The winning poster is judged based on three criteria: originality, artistic merit and expression of the theme ‘Peace Without Limits,’” said Talbot.

Talbot highly approves of this year’s theme, “Peace Without Limits.” This is a theme that, through the years, has meant a great deal to Talbot personally.

Peace, says Talbot, is the driving force behind the creation of a better world. “We all influence the world around us every day throughout our lives, with every word we say and every move we make. I don’t have to be a celebrity or a country leader to make a positive impact and help change this world for the better. Peace has no limits, no act of kindness is too little, and no smile is too brief to be powerful,” Talbot said.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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