Billboards are everywhere showcasing everything from fast food to new cars, but thanks to a unique partnership between locally owned billboard company Land Displays and Berks Arts Council, local billboard space will instead be used to feature young artists in a public art display called ‘Fast Lane Art’.

Fast Lane Art began in 2008 in partnership with Land Displays to build awareness of the artistic talent in Berks County and to encourage people to appreciate and purchase original art. After a three-year hiatus, the competition was revived in 2014 with a renewed focus on student art. Freedom Auto Group became a sponsor in 2016 as a way to encourage young artists and support the arts in area schools.

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Two hundred and twenty two student artist from around Berks County submitted their original art, all for the chance to have their work featured on a 48 foot billboard. The unveiling of the massive billboards happened at the Crowne Plaza Reading. Overall three student and three professional artists winners were chosen.

Fast Lane Art exhibition gallery showcasing work from student and professional artists.

Jurors included Meg Davis and Jeff Copus, founders of Harrisburg’s Sprocket Mural Works. Davis and Copus chose six pieces for display on traditional vinyl billboards and two People’s Choice Award winners to be displayed on digital billboards. Additionally, the Fast Lane Art Committee chose a piece from each participating school to be displayed on digital billboards in the coming months.

“The pieces were extremely difficult to choose,” shared Davis. “There was such an amazing pool of talent to choose from!”

Daniel Boone Area High School student Laura Berry was awarded 1st place with her drawing titled “Laura’s Feather”. In addition to having her work displayed on a billboard Berry also received the Alma Woods Memorial Award. Second prize was awarded to Daniel Boone Area High School student Joseph Guiliano with “Timmy” and Wyomissing Area High School student Christian Scott received third with “Frog in A Can”.

Daniel Boone Area High School student Laura Berry awarded 1st place with “Laura’s Feather”.

We caught up with Berry after the unveiling, “I worked on it over the summer, I drew the feather in pencil and used parrot feathers as inspiration for color. I finished it but it didn’t feel done, so I stained paper with coffee and layered it over the feather.” 

The professional/adult grand prize submission was awarded to Cheryl Elmo for “Abby Road”. Emlo also received the Jack Coggins Memorial Award. Second place was awarded to Kris Jackson for “Deep Seeing” and Steve Fabian “Looking for A Fight” received third.

“The final selections are beautifully executed,” shared committee chair Jim Landrigan, owner of Land Displays. “I look forward to showcasing the work of these talented artists in our community.”

In addition to the Unveiling Event, Berks Arts Council and Freedom Auto Group have collaborated for a special student exhibition at Freedom Auto Group in Hamburg from February 5 through March 9. Additional prizes will be distributed at a student and teacher art appreciation event on February 20, including Freedom of Expression Prizes for school art departments.

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