JOM art competition gets 543 entries

03/05/2018 04:00 PM
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Cherokee-themed entries are displayed for judgment in January during the 2017-18 Johnson-O’Malley art competition in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Room on the Cherokee Nation Tribal Complex in Tahlequah. A list of winners ranging from pre-school to 12th grade was released on Feb. 23. Winners were selected from 543 entries. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Robert Lewis, left, a Cherokee artist and judge in the 2017 -18 Johnson-O’Malley art competition, uses his years of experience to help select art entries in January in the Tsa-La-Gi Community Room in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – A total of 543 art pieces submitted from students attending 23 schools within the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction competed in the 2017-18 Johnson-O’Malley art competition held by the tribe’s JOM program.

“In order to enter a piece of art you have to be a Johnson-O’Malley school,” CN JOM cultural specialist Tonya Russell said. The JOM program services 70 schools in the jurisdiction.

The pieces were entered and judged in January and included entries from grades pre-school to 12th grade.

Winners received $50 for first place, $40 for second place and $30 for third place. Winners were selected in seven divisions within eight categories consisting of crayon/marker, pencil/charcoal, mixed media, watercolor/tempera, pastel/colored pencil, oil/acrylic, 3-D and pottery.

Judging took place on Jan. 10 and winners were announced on Feb. 23. All art pieces had to be Cherokee-themed.

“We don’t allow headdresses in the art pieces. We don’t allow dreamcatchers because they’re not traditionally Cherokee pieces. We have 3-D art and that spectrum is pretty wide open. Pottery is a popular art form for us and so is basketry. We have a lot of charcoal and pencil drawings, and then we have a lot of oil and acrylic. That’s probably our biggest categories,” Russell said.

She said judges looked for skill and interpretation of the art piece. Robert Lewis, a Cherokee artist and CN School and Community specialist, was one of eight judges for the competition.

“What I’m looking for when I’m looking at the students work is one, cultural. Does one have the cultural aspects of this art show? Another is design, shading, certain aspects of materials they work with, either the crayon drawing, ink, pencil, or paint and imagination,” he said.

Winners will get their art placed in the Cherokee Heritage Center in April as part of a special exhibit.

Russell said the JOM program would also provide art classes for schools that were not quite sure what types of skill and interpretation the judges were looking for in the competition.

“We’re going to hold art training classes to help some of these schools are aren’t real sure what we’re looking for when we do our art pieces in terms of our flat art and 3-D art. So they’ll be able to come in and learn the different art forms that we’re looking for and maybe help them see what is winning in these art competitions,” she said.

For a list of the winners, Click here. For more information about the JOM program, visit
About the Author • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to ...


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