Photo By: Gwinn Davis
Story By: Jacob Wilson
Easley High School’s Art Department took home first prize in the In-Tire-Art Contest hosted by Michelin North America on Monday, March 31 in Greenville.
“We are extremely impressed with the creativity and imagination of the teams that participated in
this contest,” said Michelin’s director of community relations Leesa Owens. “The works of art that we received truly reflect the vibrant international culture that thrives in our region.”
Easley’s piece “Mandela Mandate” featured South African’s President from 1994 to 1999. The 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner helped dismantle the legacy of apartheid. “We gave the kids an opportunity to come up the piece’s theme,” said Easley High School Visual Art Director Dr. Russell Jewell. “When we were thinking of international themes, Nelson Mandela’s name
I was inspired by the message he sent the world about the importance of freedom. And what better way to bring that to life than through a visual arts competition?”
The In-Tire-National Art contest concluded The International Center of the Upstate’s month-long celebration Upstate International.
The second annual Upstate International month-long celebration featured over 100 events focused on promoting the diverse cultures that make up the Upstate of South Carolina.
Michelin provided all In-Tire contestants with four tires and three weeks to create an original piece.
Submissions were judged on overall design and execution, global theme and tire usage
Over 30 contestants took part in the inaugural event. The contest winner had the opportunity to donate $5,000 to the charity of their choice.
“We knew the funds were very important to the high school,” Jewell said. “The budget for our art
department runs at around $1,000 per year so the $5,000 prize will provide our department with 5 years of funding.
Jewell, along with fellow art teacher Winston Cely, spent more than 60 hours transforming the tires to a work of art. “This prize is great because it takes fundraising pressure off of our department,” said Jewell. “It lets us focus on teaching rather than fundraising.”
Jewell said that he was inspired by a portrait of Steve Jobs created from multiple computer parts.
“We thought about using pointillism,” Jewell said. “That Steve Jobs piece came back in my mind and made us think about creating a portrait.
We knew that it was key to have a good light source to create the 3-Dimensional portrait. We were able to get a good light source and felt that we could paint the piece. Next, we focused on sculpting it and making the image come forward. We cut out pieces of the tires and put it together like a puzzle.”
Jewell said that Easley’s Art Department looks to compete in the In-Tire-National Art Contest next year.
“We had a great time this year,” Jewell said. “Michelin gave us a tremendous opportunity.
I was just thinking I have former students teaching in Amsterdam, Tanzania, China, and London. In a sense, Michelin gave us an opportunity to bring everything full circle. That is the beauty of it.”
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