Around Town: Spooner's Lucy Strunk Wins Third Place in National Poster Contest

Thursday, October 5, 2017 | by Diane Dryden |


Lucy Strunk's dad Steve, son of Ginger and Doug Strunk, graduated from Spooner High School and eventually moved to California where he met his wife, Pam.

They've moved back to the area, introducing their kids all the joys of Washburn County, especially deer hunting.

Originally homeschooled, Lucy continued her home studies while picking up a few classes here and there at the Spooner High School.

When she became a senior, she transferred to the high school full time and graduated this spring. While at the school, her art teacher, Ms. Sik read an email to the class concerning an art contest, print or 3-D, that illustrated the “overwhelming, unconquerable and insidious reality” of human trafficking.

Lucy says it was the rest of the information on the email that touched her most. She was appalled to read about the depth of despair these girls, as young as eight, were forced to go through via sex trafficking throughout the world and even here in the United States.

After learning more about the trade she was sure she wanted to enter the contest in order to do her part to make people aware of this horrendous crime against humanity.

She's been a kid that was always drawing. At age five she remembers thumbing through a coloring book and having more fun drawing her own things on the empty page that was always in the back of the book, skipping over all the pre-drawn ones.

By eighth grade, she knew that drawing and painting would be a big part of her life and when her California grandmother gave her a graphic novel to read, she was hooked on them.

Graphic novels being similar to a children's Bible whose stories are told more in pictures than in print.

She especially likes the ones that are adaptations of the classics, like the Wizard of Oz. For the past two years, she's worked at the Spooner Library because she loves being surrounded by books, it's her happy place, even including just to the smell of the publications. It is still her current job along with a few online college classes.

Once she decided that she would do her anti-trafficking art project using a 16 x 24 inch art board and acrylic paint, it was still almost two weeks before she knew what she wanted to portray; it had to depict the despair of those who were being trafficked and also those who knew nothing about, or cared to learn about, what is going on in their own world.

Colors were important, red for the anger and fear experienced by innocent girls and blue for the relatively tranquil lives many people live who are willingly ignorant of what's going on. She focused on people living in a large city and her painting is based around the huge presence on the Empire State Building in New York. Once she knew what she wanted to portray, it was finished in two weeks and sent into the LaCrosse Task Force to Eliminate Modern Slavery, which is a Catholic Church initiated contest through Viterbo University in LaCrosse.

Not only was her painting accepted into the international contest, but also the painting done by fellow art classmate Anna Little.

The first surprise came when she found out that it would be her painting that would be used for the postcard invitations to the gallery showing of all the twenty-four submissions that made the first cut, but it would also be used for the brochure given out at the show; which was pretty high praise for this then high school senior.

The big to-do was held at Viterbo and the competition was pretty stiff with entrees coming from as far away as Austria.

Only four awards were given, first through third place and the people's choice. She won third and is still having a hard time believing it.

“I was just so excited to be there, to be a part of making people aware of human trafficking was enough, but to win third, it was great.”

All of the twenty-four art projects will be traveling throughout Wisconsin for a while on display in other galleries and eventually, they will all be returned to their owners.

In the meantime, Lucy still works for the library and is taking art and math classes at the UW Barron campus while looking for yet another job, in addition to her work at the library.

Her goal is to someday become a book illustrator and as she learns more techniques from her college classes, it's no telling where she'll be in five years, but you can just about bet it will be creating amazing art somewhere.



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