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In The Public Interest: The Winning Poster On Ann Arbor Area Buses Encouraging People To Vote

Oct 8, 2018

Ann Arbor Pioneer High School student Jack Wedell and Ann Arbor Pioneer High School art teacher Helen Bunch
Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

This week on “In The Public Interest," our bi-weekly conversation with the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, we meet and talk with the winner of the student art poster contest encouraging people to vote.  89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with senior Jack Weddell and his art teacher at Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School Helen Bunch.


About the Poster Contest

These posters are a selection of contest entries received from Washtenaw County high school students.  Students were asked to create a non-partisan poster with a strong message and dramatic design to persuade viewers of the importance of voting.   

The League received 103 posters, 12” x 18”, from students at eight high schools.  Some were digital, others were colored pencil, acrylic paint, watercolor, or ink.  The five-member jury consisted of area artists, art teachers, professors, and marketing professionals who chose 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners as well as seven honorable mentions.  Prizes ranged from $500 to $50.  Posters will be distributed throughout the county ahead of the election on November 6, 2018 and will appear on over 100 AAATA buses.

Jack Weddel of Ann Arbor’s Pioneer High School took first place with his colorful, creative poster, “Your Vote. Your Voice. Don’t Be Silenced.”

"Your Vote. Your Voice. Don't Be Silenced." Poster
Credit Jack Weddell / lwvannarbor.org

Posters from other top winners were: 

Morgan Knox, Pioneer (2nd Place)

"I Can Vote. And So Can You." Poster
Credit Morgan Knox / lwvannarbor.org

Anna LeChard, Saline High School (3rd).

"My Momma Told Me If You Want Something Done, Do It Yourself" Poster
Credit Anna LeChard / lwvannarbor.org

These students clearly believe in democracy and the value of the vote, which comes across in these inspiring posters and their valuable messages.

You can see all on a video here.

Jack Weddell's Comments

Why He Entered:

"I decided to enter the contest because it seemed like an opportunity to give awareness to my county about voting. By winning the contest, the dream of having my art be viewed by thousands is also being fulfilled. I always try to have messages in my art and many times they aren’t ever seen or heard because of the lack of publicity, so I am excited for this piece to be noticed and understood by many."

Coming Up With the Slogan:

"I came up with many slogans initially to come up with ideas for the visual that I would paint, but after seeing that nothing really inspirational was being produced, I created the visual first and made a slogan based on the painting. The one I ended up with was the most meaningful and relevant to the true meaning of the painting, which I could go more in detail about."

Reaction to Winning:

"I was surprised. Completely surprised. I found out from my parents because I was on a 15 day backpacking trip and evidently missed the award ceremony. My dad actually tricked me and said I came in 2nd, but then finally told me that I had won. It’s funny, looking back on it now, but I was definitely confused and surprised in the moment."

Interests and Ideas For the Future:

Most of my interests involve creation, whether it is art, writing or speaking.  The idea of creating art is the most appealing to me for my future at the moment and i definitely see myself going to an art school.  Along with art, I am passionate about many social issues that are happening in the world right now, including sexual assault and the inequalities involved in that.  I volunteer through Ann Arbor’s SafeHouse center by going into high school health classes in washtenaw county and educating students about the issues of teen dating violence and sexual assault.  I also am very passionate about our earth and the preservation/protection of it.  I am a leader of my school’s sustainability club and love to learn and teach about ways to live greener.  This contest was an amazing outlet to bind my two passions into one piece of art. Most of my creations have a message and I am excited for this poster’s message to be heard by many.  I will not be 18 for this upcoming election, but will be able to vote in the next presidential election in 2020.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu