Best of Show

Dutchman’s Breeches © by Lily Burr, then a senior at Midland Trail School, was chosen as Best in Show (paint/colored pencil) at the 2019 Appalachian Spring Wildflower Art Contest.

GLEN JEAN — Nature can be a great inspiration for artists of all ages. Through its annual Youth Arts in the Parks 2020 Appalachian Spring Wildflower Art Contest, the New River Gorge National River has helped area students celebrate their creativity and interest in nature.

According to NPS personnel, the annual contest and spring art exhibition allow students to serve as community leaders and raise awareness of Appalachia’s natural diversity and parks. "Their works will inspire community connections to local ecology, parks, and outdoor stewardship. Some students will also have the opportunity to explore the business of art and its role in economic development," Jodi French-Burr, contest coordinator, said in a press release.

The contest is open to all students from kindergarten through 12th grade in Fayette, Raleigh, Nicholas and Summers counties. Entries do not have to be made through a school. Independent submissions are welcome.

A variety of media can be used to create art inspired by a spring Appalachian wildflower found in the New River Gorge area of West Virginia. Updated 2020 contest rules, online entry procedures, special team challenge news, and some species photo references are available online at

Photos of contest entries must be submitted online between Jan. 6 and Feb. 9, 2020, according to French-Burr. Top entries will be showcased at the spring 2020 art exhibit at Tamarack in Beckley and online. Contest winners will receive art supply awards at a special ceremony.

The art contest is part of New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend, April 24 to April 26, 2020. The annual spring event celebrates the region’s diverse ecology, hosted by staff and volunteers of New River Gorge National River, Tamarack, and several southern West Virginia State Parks. The event schedule will be posted online as this celebration draws near.

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