The next great artist in Clay County could see his or her artwork on billboards soon.
The Clay County Health Department is sponsoring a poster contest in all of the fifth-grade classrooms in addition to a smoking prevention workshop.
Linda Messmer from the Health Department will be giving 30-minute presentations to fifth-graders this week and next about the dangers of smoking.
She also will give students poster board and instructions to create their own anti-smoking signs.
Students will have the opportunity to answer questions and see some very vivid visual aids.
Messmer said she will show kids a bottle of liquid that represents how much phlegm a person suffering from emphysema will cough up over two weeks.
She also has a container of a brown, sticky liquid which represents how much tar accumulates in a smoker's lungs over one year.
"I'm hoping the kids will be repulsed by it, so every time a kid sees a cigarette, they think of (the visual aids) and associate negatively," Messmer said.
The artwork will be collected Thursday, Jan. 24, and judging will take place Friday, Jan. 25.
The current judging panel includes Health Department employees, County Commissioner Charlie Brown and Brazil Mayor Ann Bradshaw, depending on her schedule.
Also, Julia Kapke will be a judge. Kapke was asked to do it because she does artwork for the Community Theater of Clay County.
Kapke brings "a little artistic background for us," Messmer said.
Eight winners will be chosen, one from each public school as well as a student from Cornerstone Academy. The school-level winners will receive a T-shirt with their poster printed on it and a gift card from a local business.
Two grand-prize winners will be chosen out of the eight, one from the schools in the southern portion of the county and one from the north side.
These two students will have their artwork posted on Lamar billboards from April 20-June 20. Currently, the billboards selected are at the intersections of State Road 59 and State Road 46, and U.S 40 and Waterworks Rd.
Every student who turns in a poster will receive a jump rope from the Health Department.