Lauren O. Contest Entry

Teen’s Painting Wins Hip History Contest

Lauren wasn’t much of a painter until the COVID-19 pandemic hit; she preferred to draw. But with the threat of the coronavirus keeping her home more than usual, she decided to add a new artistic skill to her wheelhouse.

Then, this spring, the Ankeny, Iowa teenager entered Uniting Through History’s first Hip History Contest.

Middle and high school students were enlisted in the Hip History Contest to help spread the word about the extraordinary town of Buxton, Iowa, and how its lessons on unity and racial equality can be applied today to help combat racism in America. Their video entries were judged on creativity, inspirational, educational, and historical content.

“Originally, I was going to [paint] a town to represent the equality and I knew they were big on having a railroad go through because of coal mining … but I started to realize that I wasn’t really able to show the true story and give a deep enough meaning with just painting a town,” said Lauren, a high school junior and a Hip History Contest first place winner.

“I decided to change it and create an interracial couple to really showcase the meaning of equality and that they’re free to do whatever they want and they’re free to love who they want.”

Lauren filmed herself painting and told the story of Buxton through captions on the video.

As a contest winner, Lauren will receive $2,000—thanks to a generous donation from contest sponsor Musco Lighting, LLC—and a 30-minute Zoom meeting with one of the contest’s eight judges.

Lauren had never heard of Buxton before her Language Arts teacher told her class about the Hip History Contest.

She entered the contest “to learn more about the town and everything that went on with it. I thought it’d be really interesting to know what this town was about and why it’s so important to spread the word about Buxton, Iowa.”

“I really hope that people can take away that if a town from the 1900s can have equality, then I hope we can learn to be like them and have equality amongst ourselves in this day and age,” she said.

Lauren intends to play tennis when school resumes this fall. After graduation, she hopes to become a veterinarian and publish a fantasy novel.

To view Hip History contest entries:

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