PORTLAND – The three winners of the Fourth annual Black History Month Art Contest recently were recognized during a celebration with fellow peers and staff. The contest was held with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, according to a news release from UScellular, the contest host.

Zoe LaPlante Contributed photo

For the first time, public voting for the finalists’ art was available online, and the winning artists were awarded gift cards.

Zoe LaPlante, 9, received $250 for first place for her drawing of Jackie Robinson. Zoe is a member of the Auburn/Lewiston Club.

Laylah Brown, 6, received $150 for second place for her drawing of Friends Under the Sun. Laylah is a member of the Portland Club.

Nor Al’ Mohamed, 12, received $100 for third place for her drawing of Hands. Nor is a member of the Sagamore Club.

Laylah Brown Contributed photo

In January, club members created artwork in recognition of influential Black people from around the globe, including historical figures, world leaders, athletes and celebrities. Club representatives chose the 10 finalists based on creativity, quality, interpretation, clarity of theme and overall impression. Voting was available online throughout February.

“It was amazing to see the creativity and wide range of inspirations the club members used to create their art this year,” said Dallas Phillips, store manager at UScellular in Auburn, according to the release. “We extend our congratulations to the winners and all the finalists in this year’s contest. We’re thrilled to be able to team with Boys & Girls Clubs Southern Maine to celebrate Black History Month and the diversity in our community and the country.”

Nor Al’ Mohamed Contributed photo

Brian Elowe, the club’s chief executive officer, called the contest “a great opportunity for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine youth to express their creativity and pride in our shared history. The annual art contest encourages our young members to express themselves in meaningful and intentional ways as they reflect on elements of Black history that are significant in their lives. We are so proud of all our students who participated.”

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