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Winners Announced in 2009 The Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts Poster Design Competition

[PITTSBURGH, May 27, 2009] – Eighteen-year-old Ciara Borchard of Helendale, CA, created a winning poster design integrating theme for The Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts Poster Design Competition, “Life is Better with Art in It” and adding a twist with the phrase, “…Open Your Eyes.”  Her illustration featured a black and white picture of an eye that has a color wheel-inspired iris interspersed with artistic tools, and a camera lens as a pupil. 

Sponsored by The Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts, The Poster Design Competition was created to recognize, encourage and reward young artistic talent at the high school level.  High school seniors with an interest in graphic design were eligible to enter the competition to express their visual interpretation of why “Life is Better With Art in It.”

In addition to being awarded the grand prize of a $25,000 tuition scholarship to study at The Art Institute of California—San Diego, Ciara will attend a Congressional Reception on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. with representatives from The Art Institutes, Americans for the Arts, and invited members of Congress, honoring the work of the local winners in the competition. 

Ciara is excited to have the opportunity to study at The Art Institute of California—San Diego, and she looks forward to taking advantage of the career services opportunities.  Introduced to the world of digital design by her high school teacher, Mr. Smith, his program opened her eyes to new avenues of creativity she didn’t even know existed.  “The best part about having art in my life is that it always makes things interesting and new. I love taking a blank slate and creating a piece of work no one has seen yet.  Art is a lifestyle for me, and I couldn’t imagine living without it.”

“It is such a great reward to witness the potential that these high school students possess in creating their artwork.  We hope that we can provide these students the opportunity to embrace their talents and create for them the realization that their art matters.  In doing so, we are setting the foundation for their future achievements,” said John Mazzoni, President, The Art Institutes.

For the partnering organization in the National Poster Design Competition, “We are delighted to be a part of the extraordinary talent that these students offer.  It is evident that the skills that these students possess will set them apart entirely in whichever aspect of design they choose,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.

The competition, which began in February, took place in two stages - locally and nationally. Students submitted their entries to a participating Art Institute location, where local competitions were held by March 2009 and a local winner from each participating Art Institute location was selected. These first place local winners' entries were placed into consideration for national judging. 

A panel of graphic design professionals, visited The Art Institutes' Web site ( and scored the 42 entries on a 100 point-value system. Approximately $100,000 in tuition scholarships to The Art Institutes was were awarded to the top 12 students in the competition.

The designs of the top twelve winners work in the national competition will be featured in a calendar, to be distributed to high schools across North America. In addition, The Art Institutes created an online gallery of all scholarship winning artwork on its Web site at:

For more information on The Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts Poster Design Competition, visit

About The Art Institutes
The Art Institutes (, is a system of over 40 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.

About Americans for the Arts
Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, it has a record of 49 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at

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