About the Contest

  • This contest is open to any teen with a cancer connection, age 13-19, who lives in the state of Wisconsin.
  • Prizes for each category:
    • 1st prize: $300 gift card
    • 2nd prize: $200 gift card
    • 3rd prize: $100 gift card
  • Each teen may submit ONE piece of art, writing, OR video to the contest that is a reflection of their connection to cancer. The teen may be a cancer survivor, have a loved one with cancer, have experienced a death to cancer, or has been touched in some way in their life by cancer. Questions about eligibility? Reach out to carissa@gildasclubmadison.org
  • Examples of submissions for each category:
    • Art: Painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry, mixed-media
    • Writing: Poetry, fiction, memoir
    • Video: Short film, music performance, dance/movement performance, comedy
  • Submissions must be original, in the teen’s own voice, and new for this contest (has not been submitted to another contest).
  • Each submission will go before a panel of judges. The judges will review the piece as well as the completed entry form that includes a narrative about the piece (what is your cancer connection and what inspired you to create this piece). 
  • All submissions will be exhibited as part of the Gilda’s Club Art Show from Monday, April 18th to Saturday, April 23rd at Gilda’s Club Madison (and a digital exhibit will also be available).
  • Click here to view our community art show’s digital exhibit from 2021, and read this blog post to learn about our 2021 winners.
  • Submission Deadline: Thursday, April 7th by 4 pm.
  • Winners will be announced at the Reception on Thursday, April 21 from 6-8 pm in the backyard of Gilda’s Club Madison. Teens do not need to be present to win.

View the 2022 Entries:

All submissions can be viewed as part of the Gilda’s Club Art Show from Monday, April 18th to Saturday, April 23rd at Gilda’s Club Madison, and a digital exhibit is also available.


Contest Judges

Chelsey Gomez

Chelsey Gomez is a 31 year old artist and two time cancer survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She is the owner of the cancer awareness brand “Ohyouresotough” which sells humorous nontraditional cancer products on Etsy. She has also developed an online community on Instagram, which aims to change the way society views cancer patients, especially young adult cancer patients. She resides in Florida with her husband Michael and her 6 year old daughter Luna. For more information: www.ohyouresotough.com

Rita Mae Reese

Rita Mae Reese is the author of The Book of Hulga. Her work has won numerous awards, including a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Stegner Fellowship, and a “Discovery”/The Nation award. She designs Lesbian Poet Trading Cards for Headmistress Press, is in the bluegrass band Coulee Creek, and serves as the Co-Director at Arts + Literature Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin.

Chris Stark

Chris Stark is a Native lesbian award winning writer, visual artist, speaker, and organizer. Her writing has been published in numerous periodicals and books. Her second novel, Carnival Lights, is a current Minnesota Book Awards finalist. Her first novel, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, was a Lambda finalist. For more information: www.christinestark.com

David Smith

David’s work in ceramics focuses on the creation of wood-fired vessels and sculpture. For over thirty years he has developed his expertise in the art of wood-firing. His personal kiln, the Kegonsa Anagama, offers a diverse range of surface qualities when fired for a period of 5-7 days. Goals vary with this kiln from producing complex firebox surfaces that compliment my sculptural works to creating subtle patinas on a range of functional vessels. He often applies layers of slip and glaze to my pieces to broaden the palette of the natural ash glaze. His vessels and sculpture serve as canvases for the rich textural qualities offered by this process.

Since 1978, his passion for wood-fired ceramics has allowed him to travel and work with a broad range of artists. He has worked extensively in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Montana, Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin. His personal experiences with American Masters Peter Voulkos, Peter Callas, Rudy Autio, and Don Reitz have been influential in countless ways. In 2005, he had the opportunity to meet and work with a number of important Korean and Japanese artists at the 3 rd World Bienalle in Yeoju, Korea. This was a transformative experience and since that time he has had the opportunity to exhibit his work in Japan and China. For decades he has created ceramic art that reflects East Asian methods and aesthetics while maintaining a sensibility that is undeniably Western. He has always been intrigued by this cross-fertilization.

David is a professor of Art at Edgewood College in Madison, WI. You can learn more about David at www.farmandfire.com

Jamie Steckelberg

Jamie is a ten-year cancer survivor and Gilda’s Club member. She also was a caregiver for both parents Bob and Elma during their cancer journeys. During chemotherapy while perusing the books at Gilda’s, she encountered a book entitled When Words Heal by Sharon Bray on how to create and facilitate writing groups using the Amherst Writer and Artist method. Within months after chemo had ended, she became an Amherst Writer and Artist facilitator of Write to Heal, a writing group for cancer survivors and caregivers at Gilda’s Club in Middleton, WI. Her daughter Josie has been an integral part of Jamie’s healing not only through shaving her own head but also by painting and pouring mud on her mother’s head. A poet and English Instructor at Madison College, Jamie also enjoys thrifting and creating art with Josie.

Molly Tomony

Molly Tomony is a board-certified, registered Art Therapist and licensed professional counselor. She has worked at hospice, Gilda’s Club and Rainbow Project providing grief groups for children and teens who are grieving or have experienced trauma. Molly currently coordinates the Art Therapy program at Edgewood College. She understands the power of art to express feelings when words are not enough. Witnessing young people use art to transform pain and anger into insight and growth has fueled her to continue this work for over 25 years. In her free time, she likes to paint and spend time outdoors.


Thank you to our sponsors!

This event is sponsored, in part, by:

Exact Sciences

Middleton Endowment

NeuGen