From the Roosevelt Lake bridge to the longest two-lane, single-span, steel-arch bridge in North America and the Mogollon Rim, there is plenty to photograph in Gila County.

Students age 18 and under are invited to submit art that illustrates what they love about Gila County in a nationwide contest that opened recently and is sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) ahead of April’s annual observance of National County Government Month.

Gila County will offer additional chances for local prizes and public display, inviting local participants to enter their art here before also submitting separately to the NACo contest. Deadline for Gila County entries is April 16; allowing artwork to be displayed in the courthouse lobby during April’s annual observance of National County Government Month.

With the national contest, the 18 winning works will be selected and featured in a 18-month NACo calendar — with 40,000 copies to be distributed to NACo members nationwide. Winners will also be announced in NACo’s County News publication, and students’ artwork may be featured at NACo events and at NACo headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NACo’s contest winners will receive pizza parties for their class from the calendar sponsor. Entries aren’t limited to drawing and painting — artwork “must display artistic skill in painting, drawing or digital art,” so photography and creative photo-illustrations are also eligible.

Gila County’s local affiliate of the nationwide contest will accept entries through April 16. Email entries to artcontest@gilacountyaz.gov.

For the NACo competition, submission continues through May 31. There is no entry fee. Upload artwork online via www.naco.org/art.

The overall theme of the calendar is “Counties Matter” and students are invited to complete the sentence “I love my county because ...” with an accompanying creative work of art depicting an aspect of what Gila County accomplishes in the community. You could spotlight Gila County public works — with an illustration of the scenic route 288, the road to Young or public health staff battling COVID-19 or how about summer job opportunities for teens. Other topics: sheriff’s deputies and public safety; voter outreach during the fair; the efficient and safe 2020 election overseen by staff of the Gila County Recorder’s Office and Elections Department. Gila County offers ample subject matter to choose from and illustrate. Before submitting any artwork for consideration, students should verify they are eligible, and follow these competition guidelines:

Artwork guidelines

• Submitted artwork must present a county activity that shows how “Counties Matter” and inspired by the sentence “I love my county because ...”

• The artwork must reflect some aspect of a county government function, service or program, to celebrate National County Government Month.

• The artwork must be horizontal, 11-inches-by-8.5-inches (PDF or JPEG).

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