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Art Competition Explores Fabric of Unions

"Hands" by Caleb Roos from Pottsville Area High School is this year's second-place winner. (PSEA)
"Hands" by Caleb Roos from Pottsville Area High School is this year's second-place winner. (PSEA)
August 21, 2019

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Artwork by students and educators is raising awareness of the history of the labor movement and its importance for the future.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association, representing more than 180,000 teachers and school support staff, sponsors the biannual Fabric of Unionism Art Competition. According to PSEA's Assistant Director of Communications Chris Lilienthal, the competition has been held every other year since 1997.

"It's an opportunity for students, educators, support professionals to showcase their artistic talents and tell a story about the historical significance of the labor movement in Pennsylvania and our nation," says Lilienthal.

The winners of this year's competition and their artwork can be viewed online at

Lilienthal points out that the arts are an important part of the curriculum in Pennsylvania's public schools with benefits that enhance students' overall educational experience.

"Students who study art are more likely to be high academic achievers, they're more likely to have good school attendance, to be engaged in school," says Lilienthal.

He adds that many of the winners of past years' competitions have gone on to careers in the arts.

Lilienthal says there is great educational value in the theme of the competition, both for the students and those who see their work.

"To tell the story of the labor movement and help people across Pennsylvania and across the nation understand the important accomplishments of labor and just how important it is for working people to have a voice," says Lilienthal.

Winners of the competition in both the student and member categories receive cash prizes as well as public recognition of their work.

Disclosure: Pennsylvania State Education Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Early Childhood Education, Education, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA