Working in partnership with Mesa Public Schools (MPS), the City of Mesa Environmental Management & Sustainability Department sponsored the ‘Express Your Environmental Self’ Earth Day Creative Challenge, which included a chance to display winning artwork at the i.d.e.a. Museum.

All MPS elementary students were invited to take part in this year’s competition and 128 entries were submitted. Students first selected an environmental theme personally important to them such as recycling, water conservation, pollution, litter prevention, etc.  They were then challenged to convey that environmental message through poetry, drawing, painting, or other art form.

A panel of judges – which included i.d.e.a. Museum Curator Jeffory Morris – reviewed the entries received and selected this year’s winners.

Category: Grades K-3

  • First Place: Evelyn Giffen, Second Grade, Las Sendas Elementary
  • Second Place: Blaire Whiting, Third Grade, O’Connor Elementary
  • Third Place: Nora Godfrey, Second Grade, Highland Arts Elementary

See the creative works from K-3 winners and honorable mentions by clicking this link.

Category: Grades 4-6

  • First Place: Alfred Harrison, Sixth Grade, Porter Elementary
  • Second Place: Alexandra Epps, Fifth Grade, Red Mountain Ranch Elementary
  • Third Place: Mary Callan, Fifth Grade, Nathan Hale Elementary

Take a look at the winning artworks and honorable mentions from Grades 4-6 here.

Winners will receive environmentally themed prizes as well as sustainable school supplies for their classroom.  In addition, first place winners will also have a tree planted on their school campus.  Submissions from winners and honorable mentions can be viewed at MesaRecycles.org.  These young artists and poets will have the opportunity to have their submissions on display at the i.d.e.a. Museum, 150 W. Pepper Place, this summer.

Student artworks are expect to go up starting in mid-May and remain on display through the summer in the i.d.e.a. Museum’s Junkyard Jungle gallery – which features art and hands-on activities that aim to teach families about sustainability efforts. This part of the museum is sponsored by Mesa Recycles, a part of the City of Mesa Department of Environmental Management and Sustainability.

Winning artworks from the past…

Previously, schools competed to take top honors. These artworks were on display in the museum’s front lobby. These include Recycled Jellyfish by Wilson Elementary students in 2018. The 2019 top prize went to Jefferson Elementary for “The Recycling Tree” made with recycled plastic bottles.

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Recycled Jellyfish from Wilson Elementary School, 2018

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The Recycling Tree by Jefferson Elementary, 2019

Learn more

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and continues to be celebrated around the world. In turn, the City invites residents and businesses to act, too. Mesa is supporting efforts of the community by offering more than 50 fun and easy, and locally relevant tips on its website at www.mesaaz.gov/sustainability.

Additionally, some creative nature-inspired activities from i.d.e.a. Museum’s archives can be found here: ideamuseum.org/crafty-ways-to-celebrate-earth-day-2021/

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