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Raleigh Erickson and Grace Brown win contest; tour Portland design studio this week

PMG PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - Grace Brown and Raleigh Erickson hold up a poster of their prize-winning t-shirt design and several other gifts they received at MEK Design Studio on wednesday, July 17. The two students were selected as the first place winners of a design contest for Run for the Arts and were able to tour the graphic design studio in Portland this week as part of their grand prize winnings.Two Scappoose students who were recently selected as the winners of a T-shirt design contest were given the opportunity to tour a Portland design studio this week.

Raleigh Erickson and Grace Brown, two students now entering their freshman year of high school, were recently selected as the first place winners in a Run for the Arts T-shirt design competition hosted by the arts-in-education nonprofit Young Audiences.

On Wednesday, July 17, Erickson and Brown were given a personal tour of MEK Design studios in downtown Portland. MEK Design works with Run for the Arts to create a digital version of the student work and makes minor adjustments so the work can be properly screen printed on T-shirts and promotional materials.

Visiting the design studios and production facility is part of the prize package for winning, along with $300 in cash and seeing their design on different promotional materials.

In August, Erickson and Brown will also be able to tour to the Oregon Screen Impression facility where the T-shirts will be produced.

When Erickson and Brown arrived at the studio Wednesday morning, they were each presented with a full size poster featuring their design work, along with a customized sketch book and markers from MEK Design.

Brown and Erickson said it was exciting to see their work on such a large scale.

"I felt really excited because our design was on this big poster," Brown said.

Erickson shared similar sentiments and was awed after seeing the work become "real," she explained.

"When I saw it, it looked so cool. Just the colors, the hands, just everything. It just came to life," Raleigh said, referencing the design.

Representatives from the Young Audiences program were also on site to greet the student winners and their families.

Michelle Brown, Grace's mom, and Jeff Erickson, Raleigh's dad, also attended the event Wednesday. They were both excited to see the hard work pay off for the girls.

"It made them see the opportunities that the things they love to do can bring them in the future," Michelle Brown said.

"It's good for them to be involved and winning things and getting out. I mean Scappoose is kind of like very sheltered, so it's good to get out of the bubble," Jeff Erickson said.

PMG PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - Raleigh Erickson, left, signs an copy of a printed poster that will be on display at the Young Audiences office, the nonprofit that helps run the Run for the Arts design contest.  Grace Brown, right, was a co-designer with Erickson and also autographed the poster. Getting to visit with graphic designers, who have made a professional career out of designing and creating, was an added bonus.

"You can see an application of the art classes you take in high school in real life," Jeff said.

Each year, Young Audiences hosts the design competition and asks students to create a design that can be used on promotional materials for the Run for the Arts jog-a-thon events, which are hosted at schools throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. About 100 students entered the design contest this year.

"When looking at the submissions, Young Audiences looks for creativity, originality, and good design that will translate onto a range of different materials," Ryn McCoy, a communications and office manger with Young Audiences, said by email. "We loved Raleigh and Grace's original concept, themes of diversity and inclusion, and bold use of color!"

X.K. Austin, the art teacher at Scappoose Middle School, said he is proud of the work of his former students.

"It was so exciting for me as a teacher to see the joy in their eyes when they found out that they had won the logo design contest," Austin said by email. "Both of these young artists were over the top with pride and a sense of accomplishment knowing that their design will be printed on thousands of T-shirts this coming school year."


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