PES Student Named Artists of the Week

Katie and her art teacher, Richard Conaway. (Photo by L. Boxdorfer, Perry County School Dist. No. 32)

A Perryville Elementary School 2nd grader, Katie Welker, daughter of Harry and Jeanne Welker, was named the local winner of the national "Artist of the Week" competition of the online art gallery, Artsonia. After competing with thousands of students from more than 100 countries showcased on Artsonia's website, Katie was named the winner last week.

Richard Conaway, the school's art teacher, posted Perry County School District No. 32 students' artwork using Artsonia, the world's largest online kid's art museum. More than five million of Artsonia's student artwork pieces are viewable online at

Any teacher or parent can create an online art gallery for their child or school on the website. Each week during the 2009-10 school year, 48 finalists, 12 from each age group, will appear on the museum Web page at Parents and family members can demonstrate support for an artists by visiting this page online to vote for their studen's artwork in their own "fan club" and commenting on their guestbook.

After the votes are tallied, one winner from each age category is selected every Sunday. The winners receive a $50 Blick Art Materials gift certificate and the teacher that nominated the winning student receives a $100 Blick Art Materials gift certificate to spend on art supplies for their school's art education program. Blick Art Materials donated more than $20,000 of gift certificates to Artsonia's Artist of the Week program to congratulate the weekly winners. In addition, family members can purchase keepsakes imprinted with the child's artwork, with Artsonia donating 15 percent of its annual product revenue back to school art programs.

"We are involved in many local initiatives to support art and offset budget constrictions in schools and local communities," said Bob Buchsbaum, CEO of Blick Art Materials. "It is exciting to work with Artsonia on this competition as one way to reward young artists, thank teachers for their support and remind communities that art curriculum can help inspire and support long-term career goals."

"We encourage everyone to celebrate the creativity that all students put into their artwork, not simply judge work by merit," said Eric Meidel, President and co-founder of Artsonia. "The Artists of the Week program is designed to give every student an opportunity to be honored for their hard work and it provides another way for families and friends to show pride for their young artist."