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Nature Inspires Art Contest connects conservation and art for local high schoolers

The LandTrust for Central North Carolina has sponsored the Nature Inspires Art Contest, from which local high school students’ artwork will be on display through Jan. 25.

In partnership with the Rowan-Salisbury School System and in honor of The LandTrust’s 20th anniversary, The LandTrust created an opportunity for local high school students to express and share how nature inspires them through creative works of art.

Nature is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for art. Artists have captured the beauty of nature across the globe, throughout the eras, in all mediums. Although we rely on nature for necessities such as clean air, water, food, and personal well-being, our increasing isolation from our environment often appears as a barrier to accessing and enjoying it to the fullest.

Art can be a crucial bridge between the need for nature and the lack of opportunities or impetus to explore it. It can also be a tool used to draw attention to the challenges we face in protecting our air, water and land.

The LandTrust conceived the Nature Inspires Art Contest with the goal of encouraging students to explore the natural beauty that surrounds them here in Rowan County to gain inspiration for their works. Students could then translate what they saw and experienced into creative works of art that can be enjoyed by all that visit downtown Salisbury.

During the fall semester of this year, high school art students submitted artwork that incorporated or focused on elements of nature found in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Submissions to the art contest were due on Nov. 25. High schools were incentivized to participate through $100 mini-grants for art supplies, provided by funding through the Rowan Arts Council. Students from West Rowan, Jesse Carson, East Rowan, and North Rowan high schools participated.

The Salisbury Business Center is hosting a gallery of students’ work now through Jan. 25. With support from the Rowan Arts Council, a panel of judges will award first-, second-, and third-place prizes to the students.

In celebration of the students’ hard work and The LandTrust’s 20th anniversary, a reception and talk will be held on Jan. 21 at the Salisbury Business Center, 301 S. Main St. The gallery will be open for viewing at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., author and conservationist Jay Leutze will speak. Leutze is well-known for his book, “Stand Up That Mountain,” the true story of a small town’s fight to protect a piece of wilderness along the Appalachian Trail from being destroyed by mining. Leutze is a trustee for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and a national spokesman for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The event is free and open to the public.

The LandTrust hosts a "Nature Inspires" art exhibit.

The LandTrust hosts a “Nature Inspires” art exhibit.

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