Pandemic Picassos in Greenwich

When the going gets tough, the tough take to their easels, as budding artistes did recently for the “Bruce Museum Junior Art Competition 2020: Seeing and Feeling During the Pandemic.” The Greenwich-based museum invited children in kindergarten through eighth grade to use their creativity and share their unique experiences during this unprecedented health crisis. 

“These are uncharted territories for students, and with schools no longer in session, we wanted to find a new way to channel their creative expression,” said Felicity Kostakis, who along with fellow museum volunteers – and competition co-sponsors — Lily deJongh Downing and Cricket Lockhart, served as judges for the art competition. “As an art teacher, I firmly believe that art has the ability to empower and bring meaning to students’ lives as well as the lives of others.”

The call for entries was simple: Artwork could be created in any medium and submitted electronically as one image per two-dimensional work or two images for three-dimensional pieces. The museum’s invitation resulted in more than 80 submissions, each piece of art more touching and heartfelt than the last.

Awards were offered for two age groups, Grades K-4 and Grades 5-8, respectively: First Prize was a $75/$150 Visa gift card plus annual family membership to the Bruce Museum valued at $65; second prize, a $50/$100 gift card plus annual family membership; third prize, $25/$75 gift card plus annual family membership. There was also a Bruce Museum Director’s Award, with a prize of a $100 Visa gift card and annual family membership. 

“As jurors, Felicity, Lily, and I were absolutely delighted with all the entries we received and had a difficult time deciding on the individual winners,” said Lockhart, a member of the New Bruce Campaign Committee. “Our hearts go out to these children as they deal with the pandemic and with the compelling issues surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.” Added Downing: “Their works were incredible – powerful expressions of how to seek truth and justice and beauty through art.”

Here are the seven award winners of the “Bruce Museum Junior Art Competition 2020”:

Kindergarten through Grade 4

1st Place: Alexa Kwasniewski, Grade 3, “Sadness,” pencil on paper.

2nd Place: Chloe Yan, Grade 1, “Holding Hands Again,” mixed media with flowers.

3rd Place: Leonardo Costanzo, Kindergarten, “Do Not Touch,” tempera and pen on paper.


Grades 5 through 8

1st Place: Yana Thukral, Grade 6, “Trapped in Darkness,” pen and pencil on paper.

2nd Place: Karin Lund, Grade 7, “Headline Shock,” pencil on paper and iMovie.

3rd Place: Whit Armstrong, Grade 7, “Lockdown,” pen and pencil on paper.

Director’s Award: Christian Graziano, Grade 8, “Fraying,” digital media.

“We’ve seen the impact that the museum’s popular annual ‘iCreate’ exhibition of high school artists has had throughout the community,” said Robert Wolterstorff, The Susan E. Lynch executive director. “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to show how younger artists are using their creativity to express themselves. Art truly does inspire, and it will help us all get through these trying times.”  ​

Images of the students’ artwork will be shared on

edited by Georgette Gouveia

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