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Students Win and Advance in Poetry & Visual Arts Contests

Art photo of woman holding baby
Art from “Visual Arts Luminary” category by Val Johnson.

Southwest Virginia Community College announces the winners of its inaugural Virginia Community College System Poetry & Visual Arts Competition.

Participating students submitted original poetry and visual artworks during February and March interpreting the theme “I belong.” The program aimed to foster a sense of community and belonging at Southwest Virginia Community College and across the Virginia Community College System. Twenty of the 23 colleges in the VCCS participated in this first year of the Poetry & Arts Competition, which was supported by the VCCS Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Culture.

Poet Laureate Winners

1st: Nikki Looney

2nd: Faith Eliana White

3rd: Kaitlyn Nelson

Visual Arts Luminary:

1st: Val Johnson

2nd: Andrew Ellis

3rd: Emily Jackson

College poetry winners from across Virginia will participate at a live performance of their original theme-related poems at the Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville on April 6, and a chance to be named “Poet Laureate” of Virginia’s Community Colleges. A panel of distinguished judges will determine the winner of the competition based on the individual’s original poetry, a private interview, and the Saturday performance.

You can learn more about the April 6 event and register for free tickets here.

Select works of visual art from participating colleges also will be on display at PVCC on April 6 and at the Virginia Community College System’s New Horizons systemwide conference in Roanoke the following week.

“The work of our students is wonderful,” said VCCS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Carla Kimbrough. “I’m so grateful to college coordinators who organized the competitions at their colleges, and the judges at the college level who helped us find true gems of creativity in this inaugural event. We are so excited to showcase the message of belonging from our talented poets and visual artists from so many of our colleges at our April 6 event.”

With the support of Virginia’s Humanities, the winners from all 20 participating colleges will have their poetry and visual arts featured in a book to be published this summer. The Virginia Humanities grant also supported professional development for the college poet laureates and top visual artists.

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