March 4, 2023

Three young visual artists from Riverdale, Norwalk, and Iowa City recognized for outstanding visual arts work

[IOWA CITY, IOWA, March 04, 2023] — The University of Iowa’s Grant Wood Art Colony (GWAC) will award three students from Iowa high schools with the Grant Wood Legacy Prize for outstanding visual arts at a writing awards ceremony as part of GWAC’s annual contest which aims to identify and uplift young artists.

“The Grant Wood Legacy Prize enables the University of Iowa to discover young Iowa artists to encourage their talent,” said Maura Pilcher, GWAC director.

Current GWAC Fellows Michael Dixon and Johanna Winters selected Tanya Rastogi (Pleasant Valley High School, Riverdale), Samantha Bassanmas (Nowalk High School, Norwalk), and Charlotte Littlemoon (Iowa City High School, Iowa City) as winners for their demonstration of a Regional voice and skill.

The judges selected recipients from over 400 visual arts entries from Iowa students in media categories Grant Wood worked on: jewelry, painting, drawing and illustration, printmaking, design, ceramics and glass, and mixed media.

The Grant Wood Legacy Prize is a collaboration with the Belin-Blank Center, the Iowa and Midwest Region-at-Large Scholastic Art & Writing Awards affiliate. Prize winners and their educators will be recognized during the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards celebration video, available on March 4, 2023.

GWAC established the Grant Wood Legacy Prize in 2016 in honor of Iowa’s most famous artist. Grant Wood was a lifelong educator, from his early years teaching at Cedar Rapids’ McKinley Junior High in the 1920s to the Stone City Art Colony of the 1930s until his death while a University of Iowa faculty member.

GWAC, committed to continuing the legacy of Grant Wood, promotes Wood’s passion for education and developing young artists.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

The Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa recognizes original creative work by Iowa students every year through the Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This is the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative students in grades 7–12. This program year, more than 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted to 100 Affiliate regions across the country. As one of the largest national affiliates, the Belin-Blank Center adjudicated over 7,000 pieces of art and writing from the Iowa and Midwest Regions. Since the program’s founding in 1923, the Awards have fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students, including renowned alumni who have gone on to become leaders in their fields, such as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Philip Pearlstein, and Sylvia Plath. More recently, Stephen King, Richard Linklater, Zac Posen, and Lena Dunham received Scholastic Art & Writing Awards when they were teens.

Tanya Rastogi, Homemade Samosas, Drawing & Illustration, 2023

Tanya Rastogi, Homemade Samosas, Drawing & Illustration. Grade 10, Pleasant Valley High School, Riverdale, IA. Belin-Blank Center, Affiliate; 2023 Gold Key; 2023 Grant Wood Legacy Prize.





Samantha Bussanmas, Imperfections, Painting. 2023

Samantha Bussanmas, Imperfections, Painting. Grade 11, Norwalk High School, Norwalk, IA. Belin-Blank Center, Affiliate; 2023 Gold Key; 2023 American Visions Nominee; 2023 Grant Wood Legacy Prize.





Charlotte Littlemoon, No More Stolen Sisters, Printmaking. 2023

Charlotte Littlemoon, No More Stolen Sisters, Printmaking. Grade 12, Iowa City High School, Iowa City, IA. Belin-Blank Center, Affiliate; 2023 Silver Key; 2023 Grant Wood Legacy Prize.