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Joshua Murphy of Bethel High School named local winner of the Young Artists contest through Sister Cities of Hampton, Inc.

Joshua Murphy, a senior at Bethel High School, has been selected as the local winner of the Young Artists art contest through Sister Cities of Hampton, Inc. His piece is titled Sanctuary.¬†Joshua's artist statement below explains his interpretation of the 2024 Young Artists and Authors Showcase theme, “ClimateScape: Resilient Cities for Tomorrow's Climate.”

“I have utilized different texturing techniques on the model’s face and a softer blending method on the flowers to achieve an appealing yet not overpowering look of the piece. The piece itself represents the resilience of humans and how we have to view life and ourselves to make our cities last. We must treat ourselves well and flourish before we can help anyone else. The colors of the piece represent the diversity of our cities, the many different colors and looks that all come together to make a community. The flora around the flowers represents the many parts that come together to make a city alive while small and still beautiful in their own right. The lighting was chosen to incite a feeling of growth, the sunlight actively feeding the flowers, showing that as long as you have a positive outlook and put in the work, the cities will flourish. The flowers are tangled in the model’s hair to represent that these cities are her upbringing - they are a part of what makes her herself. The model herself is drawn in a way to make her look like she is looking at the horizon longingly, hoping that her life and city will last (endure) though threatened by global warming. The high and large clouds in the background represent increasing weather conditions.”

“Joshua's colorful interpretation of the theme vividly depicts the beauty of our planet and embraces eco-consciousness,” said Ai Choo Ashe, Hampton City Schools teacher specialist in the visual and performing arts department. “The brilliant colors of the flowers and the rendition of the city in the background celebrate diversity and the resilience of the human race. What a great job, Joshua! Good luck in this year's Sister Cities International competition.”

The winning entry has been submitted to Sister Cities International for the national competition. Hampton City Schools has previously had two national first-place winners and three national honorable mention winners. 

Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for sister city programs in nearly 500 communities, with relationships in over 2,000 communities in more than 140 countries. They provide members with several programs to support them in promoting citizen diplomacy, peace, and understanding through exchanges that focus on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development.

The Young Artists and Authors Showcase (YAAS) is an annual contest that encourages youth worldwide to express the mission of Sister Cities International through original artwork, literature, photography, and music for both original and reinterpreted pieces. Entries are judged on originality, composition, and theme interpretation.