‘Fallfire: Eternal’ concludes 15 years of art contest

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John Mundt, founder and organizer of Fallfire describes the 15 years of the Prairie du Chien area art contest and the hundreds of creators and artwork that was submitted over the years. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

The 15th and final Fallfire art contest concluded with an open house celebrating and opening the exhibit “Fallfire: Eternal,” at the new Prairie du Chien High School performing arts center gallery Saturday, Nov. 10. Thirty-three entrants submitted pieces in four categories: two-dimensional art, photography, written works and other media. Several dozen people attended the exhibit opening, hosted by Fallfire organizer John Mundt.

The art exhibit, which features this year’s pieces as well as some from the past 15 years, will be open in the hallways outside the high school auditorium all this week. The public may check it out during school hours, by stopping in the high school front office first, or from 3:30 to 5:30 daily. The exhibit will be closed Saturday morning. 

Since Fallfire began in 2004, Mundt said, 53 different people have won yellow ribbon prizes, including some artists who’ve won multiple times. The very first year had just seven entrants. The largest year saw over 200 entries.

“We have a strong group of creative artists around here,” Mundt told the exhibit audience of around 40 people Saturday. 

This year’s grand prize winner was Elizabeth Carlson, who entered in the photography category, with her picture titled, “Yogi.” In the photo, a mystic woman kneels in the shadows of a golden field of foliage. 

A special Founder’s Award, only given three times over the course of the 15 years, was bestowed during Saturday’s open house. It was awarded to Stacy Faith Xiong, a 10 year old from Prairie du Chien, who mailed Mundt a colored picture titled, “Fall Alone.”

“The whole reason why we do this is because of the thought behind the work, like hers,” Mundt stated. 

“It’s been the privilege of my life to do this,” he added, noting that it’s possible someone else may take over running the art contest in the future. But for now, this is the end.

The remaining contest winners, from the four categories as well as People’s Choice, will be published in an upcoming issue of the Courier Press. 

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