Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Connected: The award-winning art of a preteen December 22, 2021

Art supplies photographed during a Studio ARTour. (Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.)

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED. Those words theme the 2021-2022 Lion’s International Peace Poster Contest. And I simply must share a winning entry created by a 12-year-old from Rochester. Audrey, granddaughter of my friend Jackie, won the contest at her Minnesota middle school and then earned honorable mention at the district level.

It’s well-deserved recognition. As you will see on Jackie’s “Who Will Make Me Laugh” blog (click here), Audrey drew flags from assorted countries along the outer edges of a heart, then created a group of children from many ethnicities to front that heart.

Audrey’s art is detailed, following that theme of connection. Linked hands. Friendly waves. Smiles. Hearts. A rainbow. Plenty of peace symbols. All connect to create an overwhelmingly positive message of togetherness.

I needed to see the work of this young artist at a time when I observe more division than connection in our world. This gives me hope. Our youth have always been our hope for the future.

The bracelet Audrey crafted for me in 2013. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo 2013)

I met Audrey back in 2013, at the same time I met Jackie. During that visit, Audrey gifted me with a handcrafted stone and bead bracelet in my favorite hues of green and purple. Jackie has often shared that Audrey possesses a loving and giving spirit. I saw that then. And I see it now.

The thought this preteen put into designing her peace poster shows. I love how kids today are growing up in a diverse world. A world brimming with possibilities. Opportunities. Creativity.

Whenever I meet another creative, I feel a connection. Jackie and I originally connected via our shared love of photography. A nurse by profession, Jackie is kind, compassionate and caring, and a gifted photographer. We also share commonalities of faith, of country churches, old barns, drives in the country, etc. We are connected.

And now Audrey is following her grandma’s (and Uncle Brice’s) creative paths. Her current work-in-progress is writing a book. Given my love of writing, I now have that additional connection (other than shared first names) to Audrey.

And while I await news of that book, I’d love to see Audrey’s winning artwork in print, on a t-shirt… I love it that much.

Please stop by Jackie’s blog to view Audrey’s art and to encourage this young artist. And, while you’re there, scroll through Jackie’s photo rich posts.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling