View the Contest Entries As Part of Our Community Art Show:

Click here to view the digital exhibit and learn how to see the show in-person.

About the Contest

  • This contest is open to any teen with a cancer connection, age 13-19, who lives in the state of Wisconsin. 
  • Each teen may submit ONE piece of art OR writing 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
  • 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 19th to Sunday, April 25th at the Goodman Community Center in Madison. The art will be displayed in windows facing outwards toward the sidewalk so people can view the exhibit safely outdoors. A digital book of art and writing will be posted on the website for virtual viewing.
  • Submission Deadline: Monday, April 12th at 5pm
  • Winners will be announced at the Virtual Reception on Thursday, April 29 from 7-8 pm on Zoom. Teens do not need to be present to win.
  • Prizes: Top prize is $300 gift card to Amazon; 2nd prize is $200 gift card to Amazon; $100 gift card to Amazon.

Thank you to our sponsors!

This event is sponsored, in part, by:

Sponsorship Opportunities Available—For more information please contact

Contest Judges


Holly Meyers

Holly Meyers is an award winning artist who has shown in galleries in Columbia, MO, Dubuque, Iowa, Chicago ,Illinois,  Oakland, CA, Brooklyn, NY and here in Madison. She uses her skills to volunteer with organizations like Design for a Difference painting murals and donating art for advocacy organizations to raise money and awareness for equity and human rights.

Holly began her art career sketching fashion magazine fashion and drawing ponies in her room growing up. As a child she found a connection in her art that traveled with her that was consistent in an inconsistent homelife. Her love of art grew as she admired art and the world around her. She found a love of discarded old photos and loved how they had a story untold. She used art as an expression to share feelings and emotions which found connection with others. Art tells stories, heals us, shares ideas and visions. Holly continues to work on art here in Madison, WI.

Mallory Shotwell

Mallory Shotwell is an interdisciplinary artist and arts educator. In her art practice, she works with storytelling/interview, audio, photography, and video to share stories based on a theme. She majored in English at Aquinas College in Michigan, and later French and Elementary Education at Edgewood College in Madison. She worked as a public school teacher in Michigan and as a Montessori teacher in Madison. In her teaching practice, she utilizes multiple learning styles to serve and respect people’s needs.

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. 

Shad Ryan Wenzlaff

Shad Ryan Wenzlaff is a music educator and artist who teaches piano from his studio on Sherman Avenue in Madison. Shad designs with fibers, repurposed materials, video and light. He recently wrapped the atrium at the Edgewood College Stream with grey-dyed quilts made from repurposed fabrics. From inside the installation, Shad performed at the piano and asked onlookers to write reflections on fragments of his quilts. The event was captured with video, prompting audiences to examine their assumptions about art and beauty, and performing and observing. Shad appreciates the opportunity to be part of CUREative Art at the Goodman Center.


Cindy Carlson

Cindy Carlson teaches English and Literature at UW Platteville and Madison College. 

She lives in Madison, where she plays music with her band, LINDA, writes poetry, goes for bike rides in the summer, and plays with her cats, Sunny and Rocket. She graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop with an MFA in Poetry at the age of 41.

Mark Dziedzic

Mark Dziedzic is the Director of the Greater Madison Writing Project and a Senior Outreach Specialist at PLACE – Professional Learning and Community Engagement at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Education. Previously he taught in elementary and middle schools in Colorado and Wisconsin. He is interested in educational practices that honor and elevate the experiences and expertise of youth, educators, and communities. He can be reached at

Jamie Steckelberg

Jamie Steckelberg 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.

James R. Wilson

James R. Wilson Although originally from central Maine, James now lives on the banks of Lake Monona with his husband, Gregory. James’ post-secondary and doctoral studies were under the auspices of Middlebury College in Vermont, with stays in both France and Spain. At the urging of friends living in Madison at the time, James moved to the city at the ‘turn of the century’. James is now among the Faculty Emeritus of MATC, where he taught for nearly two decades before retiring. He is currently the owner of Wilson Guardianship and Advocacy, which is dedicated to helping vulnerable people, many elderly and suffering with Alzheimer’s, with their medical and financial needs. Both James and Gregory dedicate much of their time to reading and writing about the world around them.  Both have lost their mothers to cancer and feel strongly that writing through the grief helps to bring about brighter days. They are looking forward to having in-person contact with friends and family after the pandemic is brought under control. Mask up!