Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Competition Will Award Scholarships To Creators of Voter Turnout Campaigns

Nonpartisan effort led by Greater Together and Souls to the Polls. Open to all.

Groups are collaborating on an art contest to increase voter turnout. The I Am A Voter scholarship competition is awarding $10,000 in scholarships. NNS file photo by Andrea Waxman.

Groups are collaborating on an art contest to increase voter turnout. The I Am A Voter scholarship competition is awarding $10,000 in scholarships. NNS file photo by Andrea Waxman.

The I Am a Voter scholarship competition is awarding six scholarships to people who use art to encourage Wisconsinites to get out and vote.

The competition tasks individuals with producing an impactful social media post in the form of a graphic design, 2D art piece or 15-second video or animation that informs, inspires and activates Wisconsin voters to vote during the midterm elections.

Entrants must share their work online and submit it on the I Am A Voter scholarship competition website by Oct. 14.

Once all submissions are in, a panel of judges will determine five of the six winners, and the public will vote for the winner of the People’s Choice Scholarship Award (valued at $1,000).

The contest consists of two scholarships valued at $3,000  and four scholarships valued at $1,000.

Creating opportunity

As a Milwaukee native, Natasha Lettner said she’s known many talented and artistic residents.

But she’s never seen them have enough access to opportunities to show and share their work. So when she was asked to assist in the I Am A Voter scholarship competition, she immediately agreed.

“Opportunities surrounding the arts don’t usually reach the North Side,” she said. “So the I Am A Voter competition not only connects young people to the polls, it opens up career opportunities.”

The competition was launched by Greater Together and Souls to the Polls, which partnered with American Institute of Graphic Artists Wisconsin, the BrandLab in Milwaukee, Imagine MKE, Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Milwaukee Public Schools, United Adworkers, Urban Underground and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Sharlen Moore, the executive director of Urban Underground, said young people ages 18 to 30 often don’t turn out on Election Day.

“This is a way … to include them in the political process,” Moore said. Urban Underground works with and trains young leaders.

Moore said it’s important to engage young voters because they have the power to change the political landscape.

“This is a nonpartisan competition,” she said. “It allows and encourages young people to question what’s important to them and what they want to see from their leaders.”

Quintin Coby, a UWM graduate student, said he decided to join the effort because he liked the idea of using art to inspire and encourage voters.

“It’s that idea of art imitating life that makes this so cool,” he said. “Just being able to see that and learn more about how art has inspired so many different political and social justice actions has been nice to be a part of.”

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