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Calling creative Newport News residents! Face mask design challenge open to all ages

Newport News said it's looking for submissions to design three face masks that tell the story of the city. Selected masks will be distributed through the city.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Break out the crayons, markers and paintbrushes - Newport News is hosting a design contest! And, this one will have the added importance of contributing to public health.

Organizers are looking for submissions to design three works of art that tell the story of the city. Newport News officials will print the winning designs on face masks and pass them out to people around the city.

“To everyone! To as many people as we possibly can," said Sarah Bowman, a senior communications specialist with the city of Newport News.

She said since we're all wearing face masks for safety, might as well make it fun. 

“We were brainstorming ways to encourage people to wear masks,” she said.

As part of the contest, officials are asking you to design a mask, you’d "proudly wear."

The submission categories are "budding artists" (aged 12 and younger), "young adult" (between the ages of 12 and 17) and "adult" (for artists 18 and older).

“We’re actually going to have three winners because we didn’t want to limit it,” Bowman said. 

She explained, the competition is a way to encourage residents to get creative and express themselves.  

“One thing we heard is that people are wearing masks so you can’t see their smile or tell their facial expression, so this is a form of expression in a time when we’re wearing masks,” she said. 

It’s also a way for the city to distribute PPE to those who need it. 

“We are very proud of the trend that we’ve seen with the numbers decreasing, but it’s still a concern," Bowman said. "And even one case, one hospitalization, sadly one death, hurts the entire community. And so by wearing a mask, we’re protecting ourselves, we’re protecting others.” 

RELATED: COVID-19 Live Updates | Virginia has run 2 million PCR tests

Mayor McKinley Price said the contest should lift people's spirits.

“Newport News is home to talented artists of all ages," Price wrote. "This contest gives them the opportunity to use their skills to design a piece that tells the unique story of our city and residents while stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”

You can use any type of medium to create the design, organizers said. Just make sure it's original.

Participants are asked to email a copy of their artwork to maskupnn@nnva.gov, but to keep the original piece in a safe place, in case you win. The city might need the original design to print copies on face masks.

Entries are due by October 16.