Offaly children urged to express artistic talent

The Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards, which was launched this week, is designed to inspire Irish children to express their artistic talent through painting whilst developing an appreciation of the importance and value of sight in a fun and interactive way.

The Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards, which was launched this week, is designed to inspire Irish children to express their artistic talent through painting whilst developing an appreciation of the importance and value of sight in a fun and interactive way.

The competition has grown over the last four years and the 2012 competition looks set to be the biggest yet. Recognising the difficulties schools are finding themselves in due to cut backs, this year Sightsavers will have cash prizes for the overall winning schools along with a variety of top art prizes. The young, aspiring artists of Offaly can now enter and get painting!

Open to primary school students of all ages, this year’s theme, ‘i: dream’, invites each budding artist to create a vision of how they would like to see the world. Children will also learn about Sightsavers’ work to eradicate preventable and treatable blindness in the developing world through simple and cost-effective measures.

According to John Fleming, CEO, Sightsavers: “The Junior Painter Awards is a model of education through expression that I think is hugely beneficial and important for young Irish students. Children learn about the importance of sight and to recognise the difficulties for those who live without it. It is important to note that in the same age bracket of the participants of this year’s competition, there are over 12 million children visually impaired from conditions that could be easily diagnosed and corrected.”

Sightsavers is delighted to announce that this year, the overall winning school and runner ups will directly receive substantial cash prizes which have been generously pledged by The Irish Times. Art & Hobby stores along with Star School Supplies have continued their support of the initiative by donating thousands of euros worth of prizes to all regional and national winners including art hampers, vouchers and supplies. Every child that enters the Awards will be given a Certificate of Participation.

There are five competition categories: Junior and Senior Infants, 1st and 2nd Class, 3rd and 4th Class, 5th and 6th Class and a Special Needs category. 15 regional winners will be selected and will have the opportunity to see their work displayed at a special Awards Day in February 2013. The regional winners are then in the running to be awarded the top prize of overall national winner with a runner up and third spot up for grabs as well.

The closing date for entry is Friday, November 30. Entry packs are being sent out to schools nationwide. Parents and children can get involved by speaking to their school teacher or by contacting Sightsavers Ireland on www.sightsavers.ie/juniorpainter or www.facebook.com/SightsaversIreland