July 2019

For 6-year-old Reese Mills, horses are the “mane” attraction.

So when it came time to put paintbrush to paper and come up with an entry for Cooperative Living magazine’s 2019 Youth Art contest, Reese knew just what she wanted to paint.

For the 17th annual version of this contest, students in kindergarten through fifth grade were tasked with the challenge of portraying visual interpretations of the theme, “Down on the Farm.” The winning Best in Show entry was chosen from hundreds of colorful entries from students across Virginia.

Reese could relate to the contest’s theme. Her parents, Southside Electric Cooperative members Matthew and Chandler Mills, own a 98-acre poultry farm, Waterfall Farms, in Amelia County, where they’ve lived for the last three years.

“My husband and I both come from a long history of farmers,” Chandler explains. “We raise chickens for Tyson as our main gig. However, making hay and raising pigs and sheep is the part we love the most about this lifestyle. Our three children — Cole, Reese and Holden — are learning how to raise their own food and about the virtues of hard work, so it makes the farm lifestyle all worth it.”

When Chandler spotted the contest advertisement in Cooperative Living, she knew her children had to enter. Reese and her 10-year-old brother, Cole, were both excited to enter the contest. “Reese jumps at any opportunity to do an art project,” Chandler says.

Reese’s brother wanted to paint a tractor, but Reese knew she was going to do a horse. “She loves horses so much, especially black horses,” Chandler explains.

To help her daughter get her first strokes underway, Chandler says she did a rough outline of a horse on her own paper for her daughter to see. Reese took it from there. “I never touched her picture at all. She did a phenomenal job, and her father and I were very impressed,” she says.

In addition to riding horses in her spare time, the rising Amelia County Elementary School first grader also enjoys ballet and tap dancing.

“Our judges knew they had a Best in Show winner when they saw Reese’s vibrant submission,” says Cooperative Living Editor Bill Sherrod.

More than 250 student artists entered the annual competition, which was judged by staff at the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives, publisher of Cooperative Living. “We’re really proud of her,” says Chandler. “To have her work selected out of all those entries is an honor.”

First place in each grade category received a $25 cash prize, and Reese’s Best in Show work earned her a $100 prize. When asked what she’ll likely spend her prize money on, Reese is quick to answer: “I’m going to save it to buy a horse.”

“We started the Youth Art Contest to encourage youthful creativity and give kids a chance to show their art to the magazine’s 1.25 million readers,” explains Sherrod. Everyone who judged the entries was impressed with the imagination and talent shown in the students’ work.

Sherrod adds, “To all of our contestants in the 2019 Youth Art Contest, thank you for your effort, your interest and your entries. We say it each year, and we’ll say it yet again now: In our eyes, you’re all winners.”

A video about this year’s winner, posted on the magazine’s Facebook page in late June, can also be viewed at co-opliving.com.

Click Here to View The Winners

Youth Art 2019

ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT!Cooperative Living magazine’s 17th annual Youth Art Contest is now underway, and all youthful artists are invited to show us your best work! The theme for this year’s Youth Art Contest is “Down on the Farm.” Artwork entries should reflect the young artist’s conception of that theme. ALL ENTRIES MUST BE CONFIGURED VERTICALLY (PORTRAIT-STYLE) TO QUALIFY. Deadline for entries is May 1, 2019. The contest is open to all children in kindergarten through fifth grade. There are three winners in each grade category — first, second and third place. All winning entries will be published in the July issue of Cooperative Living. First-place winners in each category will receive a $25 gift card. The entry judged best in show from all categories will receive a $100 gift card and will be featured on the cover of the July issue. For more information: www.co-opliving.com/contests/youth-art/A&N Electric Cooperative BARC Electric Cooperative @Central Virginia Electric Cooperative Choptank Electric Cooperative Community Electric Cooperative Craig Botetourt Electric Cooperative @Delaware Electric Cooperative Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative @Northern Neck Electric Cooperative NOVEC Powell Valley Electric Cooperative Prince George Electric Cooperative Rappahannock Electric Cooperative Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative Southside Electric Cooperative

Posted by Cooperative Living Magazine on Wednesday, April 24, 2019