Mt. Lebanon honors Unity in the Community art contest winners
Art imitates life, as the saying goes. And Hannah Jones ran with it – she’s a competitive runner, so that’s appropriate – for her entry in Mt. Lebanon’s Unity in the Community art contest.
“While I was working on this piece, I actually met an exchange student from Pakistan and got to know her,” Hannah explained. “She taught me about cricket, which is a sport that’s not popular here but very popular over there, and I actually included a cricket bat in my image.”
Hannah, a Mt. Lebanon High School junior, and Mellon Middle School eighth-grader Benny Hornburg were honored during the Mt. Lebanon Commission’s Sept. 12 meeting as winners of the contest, an initiative of the municipality’s community relations board.
“I entered this contest because I wanted to share the way I felt about unity in Lebo and express my passion for art,” Benny, son of Robert and Vonnie Hornburg, said about his illustration.
The contest represents an extension of a unity rally held in December following the discovery of offensive graffiti at two Mt. Lebanon schools.
“We didn’t want to stop there,” commission President David Brumfield said.
The community relations board – a 51-year-old organization that encourages compliance, respect and appreciation for diversity in race, age, culture, sexual orientation and economic status – continues to be involved in the effort.
“Following the success of the unity rally, the board looked at what could be done further to encourage and educate people about the value that diversity brings to our community,” Commissioner Steve Silverman said, and an art contest for middle school and high school students emerged. “The board members agreed that it was especially important to engage our younger residents.”
Lisa Borelli Dorn, who chairs the community relations board, commended Hannah and Benny.
“These winning artists created designs that are meant to discourage prejudice, encourage inclusion and remind us all that a united, welcoming community is a strong community,” she said.
Steve and Wendy Denenberg, who own Create A Frame/Handworks Gallery on Washington Road, framed their artwork, which will be on display at Mt. Lebanon Public Library and then at the municipal building before being returned to the contestants.
“Both artists have allowed their works to be made into coloring sheets that can be obtained from the library circulation desk,” Dorn said.
The community relations board and on behalf of state Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, presented certificates of merit to Benny and Hannah.
“I was assigned a miscellany in my art class,” Hannah said, explaining the project as “a big picture made out of a lot of little pictures, and that’s basically what a community is. So I decided on the Mt. Lebanon cedar as a focal point, and fill it with religious and cultural items, as well as sports and other objects that can be shared across cultures.”
The daughter of Charles and Dana Jones said she wants to make an impact.f
“My hope is that my work inspires others to get to know people from different backgrounds than they have.”