Ada — The Fun Country Special Olympics Art Competition and Music Festival was held on Tuesday, Feb. 25, in the Ada Cougar Activity Center.
Artists and musicians from 12 Oklahoma school systems and one independent team traveled to Ada with their coaches, family members and friends.
Represented were Ada, Ardmore, Byng, Fox/Tri-County, Latta, Lindsay, Sulphur, Pauls Valley, Plainview and Stonewall schools, plus the Oklahoma School for the Deaf and the Ada Brave Spirit Independent Team.
A record 249 pieces of original art were entered in eleven separate divisions including: photography, collages, other three-dimensional, fiber craft, ceramics, mixed media, pencil, drawing, markers, tempera paint, and acrylic/oil paint.
After placement, ribbons were awarded to each piece, the judges decided on beginner, intermediate and advanced winners in each division. They next chose a best of division winner in each division. Finally, they bestowed their judges' choice award followed by the highest award, best of show.
Several other awards were also bestowed, including a group project award, the protect our planet recycling award, you made me smile awards, and directors' choice awards.
The judging team included accomplished Ada artist, Loretta Yin; Ada Arts Council representative, Dr. Rosemarie Benya; and Byng art teacher Vicki Cowger. The Fun Country Special Olympics Directors are Harold Muse and Gloria Muse. Retired special educator, Abby Phillips, coordinated this yearly event.
After touring the art show in the ACAC lobby, the large group in attendance assembled in the ACAC auditorium. Phillips welcomed everyone to Ada. Several Special Olympians led the audience in the Pledge to the Flag, the National Anthem, and the Special Olympics Oath. The musical program followed with 11 very entertaining acts which included singers, dancers, an "Air Band," and two traditional Native American dances by Byng student, Paan Pai Roberts. Paan Pai danced in traditional dress as her father Michael accompanied her on the drum.
Closing out the morning's festivities was the Awards Ceremony. Ernie Gibson of Ada High School received Best in Show. Paan Pai Roberts of Byng Schools was presented the Judges' Choice Award.
At the conclusion of the morning's program, Phillips invited everyone to return to Ada in February 2015 for the next Fun Country Special Olympics Art Competition and Music Festival. She wished everyone a safe return as they headed home.