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Student Artists Win Awards in
Children's Literature Illustration Contest
December 6, 1999

When art major Susan Simon found out she had won a competition in her illustration class, she couldn't believe it. "I was shocked," she says. "This was one of my first endeavors to loosen up my style and really change it."

Simon, a senior from Simsbury, was the winner of a competition for best illustration of children's literature, sponsored by UConn alumna Susan Salzman Raab '80.

Students were asked to illustrate a poem, Three Wise Old Women, by Elizabeth T. Corbett, with a single piece of artwork, treating it as if it were the text of a children's book.

Raab, co-owner of Raab Associates, a children's book marketing agency in Pennsylvania, created the competition because of her love of children's literature and the arts.

"It was exciting to hear about the Northeast Children's Literature Collection at the Dodd Center and to know that UConn was making a big commitment to archiving children's literature," she says.

"I wanted to help encourage people who had interest in the publishing world. I think it's tough going into the arts, and it's good to have support."

Raab, who was an English major at UConn, took courses at UConn in children's literature and publishing to learn about the field. "This is also a way for me to give back to the University," she says.

The competition was judged by Terri Goldich, curator of the children's literature collection, and Cora Lynn Deibler, an assistant professor of art who teaches the Topics and Illustration course.

The first prize, of $400, went to Simon, an art major with a concentration in illustration. Honorable mention and a $100 prize went to Sergio DaSilveira, a senior from Danbury majoring in art, with a concentration in illustration and painting.

Both students say they learned a great deal from the project. Simon, who usually does medical illustrations - and plans to enter that field - says she "had been working in a very tight, detailed, scientific style. It took me a lot to loosen up, to try something comical and a little bit different."

DaSilveira was happy to have his work juried. "It is an important experience to have your work juried by others, because it doesn't happen often in your undergraduate career," he says. "It professionaliz es your work and is a good way to make sure the concept comes through."

Sherry Fisher