The West Virginia winners and five additional "special doodlers" from the state were recognized Tuesday at the Huntington Museum of Art, where their artwork will be on display for the next four weeks.
"Hanging the pieces on display in an actual museum is a big deal. It takes it to a whole new level," said Margaret Mary Layne, executive director of the Huntington Museum of Art. "It gives these kids the credibility they deserve. This level of creativity belongs here."
Google often temporarily changes the logo on its search engine website to honor birthdays of well-known people and anniversaries of important events.
Layne said she is honored that a company like Google chose the museum to showcase the pieces.
"They felt that our mission of fostering creativity in children was parallel to their mission of the project, and it was really heartening to have a vote of confidence from a giant like Google," Layne said. "We've been promoting the positive impact of creativity in children for 60 years, and now so many other levels of our world are recognizing the importance of that -- even Internet giants. It feels really good."
She said while the state has struggled to provide funding for adequate art programs, the Huntington Museum of Art has stepped up to compensate -- serving 20,000 children a year.
"It's not that West Virginians don't value art, but we're always struggling from a financial standpoint. The museum has resources and professionals that schools can't have. In a sense, we're a corporate citizen, and we want to fill the gaps," Layne said.
Layne said inclusion in nationwide programs like these not only benefits West Virginia youth, but the state as a whole.
"Sometimes West Virginia is underrepresented, and it's good to encourage our children to compete on every level because they're very worthy. Achievement through this competition builds self-esteem, and every kid needs that to succeed in the world," she said. "It brings national attention to the creativity of children -- not trained, educated artists. It's about the creativity that lies within all of us, and that's so important."
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.