Our 17 finalists have been selected and are on display in our second floor art gallery throughout the month of August.

Art Contest Reception

Sunday, August 26, 3:30–4:30 p.m.

See the artwork, meet the artists, and mingle with other art lovers. Refreshments will be served and first, second, and third place winners will be announced.

How can art be used to express the role that books and reading play in our lives?

Books communicate knowledge and wisdom. They help build connections and understanding. Through reading, we visit places we’ve never been, and characters on a page become friends we hate to say goodbye to as we read the last page.

Books allow us to explore new things, new information, and new ideas. They make us think, and they help us to dream.

The Indian Prairie Public Library Foundation & Friends are pleased to sponsor IPPL's first art contest.

Contest Participants

Participants were asked to create a new, original piece of visual artwork in any medium they chose based on the themes listed above. We received a total of 26 entries, 17 of which were chosen as finalists (marked below).

Artwork (click to enlarge)Artist Statement


Pamela Amaya-Regino

Colored pencil and watercolor

Selected as finalist.


This work can be interpret in different ways, please take a minute to look at it and interpret it.

This is my interpretation. Books usually take me to a different place, explaining why the background is a galaxy. The planets represent emotions one gets from reading. Sadness, anger, fear, happiness, calmness, and so on. The flowers represent growth, and how books can expand your knowledge. And lastly the butterflies are double sided, one side is dull and the other side is full of color. I got this inspiration from the Morpho butterflies. This is supposed to show how some books look boring and dull buy its cover, but are actually on of the greatest books one could ever read.


Bertina Amy Anderson
Mad Eye Moody
Altered art doll

Vinyl, yard, acrylic paint, nail polish, foam sheets, buckles, zipper, button, thread, paint, fabric dye, facet seats, googly eyes, and cloth

The Harry Potter series is the only series of books I’ve read cover to cover. It has inspired me as I closely relate to Harry Potter himself. The series has touched me deeply in my life and inspired me to be creative in my own art and writing.

I chose Mad Eye Moody of all the characters because he was the most unique character in terms of his appearance and style. His eyes in particular are what inspired me to make the altered art doll.

Not pictured in the photograph is his wand and staff.


John Bigelow
Making Reading Fun

Watercolor on cement board

Selected as finalist.

A painting of a classroom setting blending childhood memories with an added touch of imagination. All centered on the joy of reading.


Nancy Caroselli
Green Valley

Oil paint

Selected as finalist.

Beautiful places to discover.


Nancy Caroselli
Dream of Fields

Oil paint

Read a book and find who you are.


Nancy Caroselli
Italian Beaches


Find your heritage thru books.


Nancy Caroselli
Want to Be a Princess


Books find your imagination.


Benjamin Clark
The Commute


Selected as finalist.

When I was living in Chicago, I always had a book with me when riding the L.  I could get lost in a good book even if I was only heading a few stops away.  We all can be guilty of spending too much time on our phones swiping through social media posts.  My art piece is intended to encourage us to put the phone down for a minute and discover something new.  


Lawrence Conklin
Larry’s Psychedelic Art / Abstract Painting

Digital (Computer Windows Draw)

Abstract fictional stories/ or art books.


Kaela Echols

Watercolor and brush pen markers

Selected as finalist.

Reading allows one to escape to a whole new world. For me, that world creates an atmosphere of comfort and peace. My place of comfort and peace is when I can daydream and imagine where my book is taking me.


Kaela Echols
Miss Universe

Watercolor, brush pen markers, pencil, and gel pens

Art and reading go hand and hand. Reading allows you to travel through space, time, centuries, decades, galaxies and our very own universe. To me, there is no wrong place to go to when reading. So, what does your “universe” look like?


Alyssa (Lys) Froehlich
Reading on a Swing


Selected as finalist.

This piece of artwork is a girl reading on a swing that is hanging from a tree branch. She is imagining the tree being magical and colorful. This painting shows how reading can bring your world and imagination to life. It also shows how reading can make your creativity spark or flow.


Debbie Holgreen
The Wasp in the White City

Acrylic paint, marker, glitter

Selected as finalist.

When you read a book the message stays with you and you open your mind up and see the idea in other themes of life. I loved the book called Devil in the White City. And in nature, you see creations and business and sometimes you don’t know where real danger is; the good vs. the bad. Which is a part life, so I thought of bees and wasps. They almost look the same, but they are not.


Karen Kall
The Emerald City

Watercolor on paper

What books mean to us can be visually portrayed through our artwork. One of my favorite stories as a child was the Wizard of Oz. Several years ago I met a supervisor who said his life was like the yellow brick road. I thought about his philosophy and how it applies to my adult life. We are all on a journey in our lives and meet an interesting cast of characters. We encounter obstacles and make good friends along the way. Hopefully we reach our destination after going on an incredible journey. My painting portrays this path with the Emerald City in the background which symbolizes reaching my goal.


Ayah Kudaimi
Juicy Watermelons

Paper, pencil, watercolor pencils

This is a robot that is reading a book about eating healthy while snacking on juicy watermelon slices. He learned about dieting well by reading this book that he found in the library. Books help people learn about new things every day. From books we acquire new knowledge and add that to our endless capacity of learned ideas. We learn that healthy dieting is important for our bodies to function properly and to defend us against diseases and illnesses. After learning that, we start to develop these new eating habits that change our lives and our bodies for the better. Books change our lives and create new habits and other ideas from what they contain. By reading about fruits and vegetables, this robot learned about eating healthy and decides to enact a healthy eating habit of his own.


Mary O'Dowd
Your Move

Pages of recycled books, magazines and Indian Prairie Public Library newsletters; acrylic paint washes; glue; vintage wooden letter tiles; upcycled frame.

Selected as finalist.

I love the idea of “weaving”. Books allow us to weave our own stories and to connect with others who are weaving their own stories. Regardless of who we are or where we are in life, books allow us to go anywhere, to dream, to learn, to explore, to inspire, to teach…

I chose to use only free, recycled and/or repurposed materials for this project – items someone else had discarded – and to weave them together in a new way, giving them a new life and perhaps inspiring viewers to see them in a new light. Books are powerful tools that can give us all a new life and inspire us to change the world for the better, one word at a time. 

So what are you waiting for? – It’s YOUR MOVE.


Richel Poca
Mystical Fields of Imagination

Acrylic paint

Selected as finalist.

As it says in the title, the painting shows many fields of imaginations. I put in characters like wizards, witches, princesses, mermaids, pirates, etc. Each of the characters is actually children holding books in their hands. They’re imagining themselves as the characters in their books that they’re reading. They’re putting themselves in the characters shoes, so they can understand the whole story. The library is a place to learn new things, new places, and new ideas that help us as we grow up. The people on the hill that leads to the library are all holding white books. Those are graduates from high school and college. Books shape us into what we are and what we want to be. Books give us information in order for us to achieve our dreams.


Amber Polzin
Creativity Through Imagination

Colored pencil

Reading books throughout life creates and strengthens imagination and knowledge. Reading fairytales as a kid spikes the imagination and exercises the brain to create new things. This is a good example of how inventors or entrepreneurs are made.


Angel Raine Ragas
Live Life More Through Books

Watercolors, pencil, acrylic paint, marker

Selected as finalist.

When we were young readers, picture books were our go-to. The pictures were always very colourful and made it more fun to read. Art aids in telling the story and it also engages the littles ones. I decided to incorporate the dewey decimal system onto my piece so that those who see it can learn about it and also be informed what they can learn through books. The colourful center represents how colourful the story can be with art while the white swigly stripes on the sides are how bland and confusing it can be without.


Na'Dia Raines
Explore Books with Positive and Negative Spaces

Digital (Paint Tool SAI)

Selected as finalist.

When I began this project I had gone through a few idea’s none of which I was really satisfied with at the time I really couldn’t grasp the idea of a whole world of books and putting that on paper or computer I was running through Ideas and running out of time at one point I was laying down thinking of what I should do for a project I was having trouble with then I thought back to when I did an activity with a group raising awareness for domestic violence the goal was to take a book and block out a few words and paint a silhouette over it I tweaked it a bit with the use of positive and negative space rather than silhouette and somehow it felt right that this is exactly what this concept felt to me I can’t really explain it so I hope that this piece of art can communicate my feeling to you about the kind of worlds books can open up and what sort of impact it may have on perceptions


Selena Ren
Book Hopping

Ink, collage

Selected as finalist.

When I was conceptualizing this piece for this concept, the word “exploring” caught my eye. Traveling is an expensive hobby but many people can afford, so they turn to other outlets like reading. Books allow readers to have adventures and imagine their own vacation away from home. In my piece, a girl finds herself peeking through the doors to different places — different adventures to have when you crack open a book. 


Satabdi Sarkar
Triumph of Peace over Darkness

Oil painting on white canvas

Selected as finalist.

The theme of this artwork is based on the famous novel named, “The Count of Monte Cristo” by “Alexandre Dumas”. This book contains many interesting aspects of human psychology. It shows love, hatred, friendship, morality, betrayal, retribution, desperation and many other behavioral features. In this book a young and honest sailor (named Edmond Dante’s) was falsely accused of treason, and imprisoned in Chateau d’If for fourteen years. Eventually, he was able to escape from the notorious captivity, and finally took revenge on the people whose betrayal not only spoiled his life, but also sent him for life imprisonment. In depth, this story indicates the rise of a very complex mind, which is full of anger, depression, revenge and even loosing hope in God. Also the crucial contemporary social and historical background added more darkness to this story. Ultimately, the long darkness was faded away through the emergence of knowledge, bravery and sharp intelligence. Finally peace came to the mind and soul, which has been vividly depicted in this novel.

The main theme of the present painting is “Triumph of Peace Over Darkness.” The artwork has a deep and very dark colored background. It resembles the cruelty, lust and greed of the various characters within this novel. The darkest part resembles the abominable minds of Fernand, Danglars and Villefort, who called themselves friends of Edmund Dante’s, but later betrayed him. At the top of the painting, the flowing red drops symbolize blood. Those blood drops and bloodstains, which are scattered all over the painting, represent lust for flesh, power and greed for wealth. The story starts with a ship, and we can find several instances where the same has been mentioned to maintain flow within the story. In the present painting, the ship does not exist literally; rather it has been used from a metaphorical perspective. Here the white ship symbolizes arrival of peace, love and harmony in life. It resembles the end of Edmond’s revenge on Fernand, demise of Danglars’ jealousy and the ruin of wicked minded prosecutor Villefort. The tides signify obstacles. The white colored ship, which resembles peace, moves forward by breaking the obstacles.


Charles L. Smith
Beauty and the Beast

Oil on canvas

Selected as finalist.

Paris between the wars is a great study and this painting is a assemblage of my knowledge of French railways, rolling stock and stations colored with fashion of the 1930's.   Thus I was able to create this image based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's writings... "The Last Time I Saw Paris" and his novel "Babylon revisited".  As none of the literary characters are illustrated this painting brings to life a  1930's arrival in Paris..starting the novel and cast on their journey.


Kristen Speelman
A New Perspective


Selected as finalist.

Books allow us to see the world from another person’s point of view and force us to reexamine how we see the world. Art can be used to visually show this concept. This image is made up of 50 layered images of the same stack of books taken from different angles. It helps us to see how books can help us to see the world from a new perspective.


Tasha Turner
A Reindeer in Spring

Acrylic paint and marker

Selected as finalist.

When you read A Reindeer in Spring you get a good feeling.


Mary Yezek
Books Open Your Mind


Selected as finalist.

My memory of books started when I was very small and my father read to me. He read Dr. Doolittle to me and I think after a while or perhaps he read all the copies of Dr. Doolittle, he began reading P. G. Wodehouse to me. I was read to when I knew how to read.

So now I have a love of books and British humor along with my father.

My father has been dead over 40 years, but my habit of reading before going to sleep is my favorite habit.