Note: Text for this story was submitted by Celia Schorr, executive director of Civility First.–Kate Poss

The Civility First annual Art Contest brought a surprise this year.  Many of the submissions – – and winners – – came from the Island County Jail. Thanks to a partnership between Civility First and the jail, led by Chief Jose Briones, several people entered who would not typically have known about the contest. Civility First volunteers worked with the jail’s Residential Substance Abuse Program, managed by Chelcee Lindell, jail transition coordinator, with the goal of entering the 2022 Art Contest.

“We were truly impressed with the depth and creativity of the work submitted. It was abundantly clear a lot of mindfulness and energy went into each of the pieces,” said Lisa Bernhardt, Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Art School, which judged the entries.  “Each one was completely different from the rest. We hope they all continue to have art be part of their lives.”

“We were thrilled when we were approached by Civility First,” said Chief Briones. “Respect, kindness and civility are all skills we try to teach our residents while they’re here.”

Ms. Lindell added, “The art project and topic initiated a very positive, thoughtful experience for all who participated.  It turned into a therapeutic activity with conversations about change in the way we encounter those around us.”

For Civility First…So We Can Work Together, the partnership with the jail program is a meaningful way to bring the message of respect, kindness and depolarization of our dialogue directly to the community.

“We were thrilled to be able to work with Chief Briones and the jail,” said Kate Bracy, Civility First board president.  “And we were even more thrilled,” she continued, “when the submissions started coming in – – not all of them, of course, from the County Jail.  This year was tremendous for our art contest, and we got high quality submissions from throughout the community.”

2022 Civility First Art Contest Winners:

Adult category–First, Third and Fourth entries were submitted by residents at the Island County Jail:

– 1st Place Winner: Victoria Garza, for “Humility”

Victoria Garza’s art took first place in Civility First’s 2022 art contest. Photo shared by Civility First

– 2nd Place Winner: Rae Harder, for “My Choice Equals My Respect”

Rae Harder’s ‘My Choice Equals my Respect” won 2nd place in Civility First’s annual art contest. Photo shared by Civility First

– 3rd Place Winner: Vanon Bowling III, for “Salt of the Earth.” He commented: “In the middle of the earth is the Periodic Table symbol of salt. In the Bible we are called to be “the salt of the earth.”  When we live in love, mercy, kindness, patience and respect, we are what brings good flavor to our community which spreads throughout the world.”

Vanon Bowling III’s art won third place in Civility First’s annual art contest. Photo shared by Civility First

– 4th Place Winner: Shane Lafferty, for “Peace”

Shane Lafferty’s ‘Peace’ won fourth place in Civility First’s annual art contest. Photo shared by Civility First

Honorable mentions to:

– Steven Daves, for “Change Starts with an Idea””I have been locked inside my own head with the same thoughts for a long time.  If I want something different, I have to think of something different.  It all starts with an idea.”

Artist Steven Dave’s submitted this piece which won an honorable mention. Photo shared by Civility First

– Robert Dreyer, for “World Peace” –his art is available at this link: 2022 Art Contest-Civility First.

– Cherri Ann Forrest (non-jail resident), for “What Real Listening Feels Like.” For the first draft, featured two figures embracing as wholly separate beings.  But in the second draft the figures were merging – – becoming a goblet or chalice – – as real listening is a holy-making affair.  The ‘stem’ then evolved into a tree trunk as real listening is food for the proverbial tree of life (in any culture).” Cherri Ann’s art is displayed as this article’s feature photo.

– Joyce Grage, for “A Quiet Park Bench.  Moments of Love, Kindness and Sharing.” Joyce’s piece can be viewed at this link: 2022 Art Contest-Civility First.

– Pondexter Bryant, for “Clean Up You Unit.” Visit Pondexter’s winning piece at this link: 2022 Art Contest-Civility First.

– Camila Reeves, for “Showering Positivity” “Sometimes you just need to water’to grow something beautiful.”

Camilah Reeves’ “Showering Possibility” took an honorable mention in Civility First’s annual art contest. Photo shared by Civility First


Child category:

– 1st Place Winner, Eleanore Hunsaker, for “Friend.” Eleanore’s art can be viewed at this link: 2022 Art Contest-Civility.

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