“Anyone Can Find a Pencil” …a simple truth that describes, in part, the success of the Pencil Drawing Contest conceived by Kerry Lane Earl in 2008 for local school children. Kerry had an inspired idea he quietly delivered to one member of the Chewelah Arts Guild to establish an annual contest which he would anonymously fund if the Arts Guild agreed to organize the event. He discreetly brought the money forward to establish a wave of anticipation, excitement, and fulfillment among the students.
To quote from letters written by the students themselves to the anonymous donor:
“you are an angel on Earth,”
“…a warm-hearted and generous person”
“Thank u so much for the donations yu have made so that even way out here in the middle of nowhere our art can be considered”
“To give me an opertunity to be creative. It gave me a lot of time to be myself”
“Thank you for inspiring children to let out there iner artness”
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to getter better at art and to have a little chalange. I did not get it at the beging, but then I got it and put some detail in”
“Your loving and caring to this cause is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard of occurring”
And in a letter from a teacher:
“The pencil art contest truly inspires an enthusiasm to draw…creates an appreciation for the arts in young children and motivates them to risk their abilities with a pencil and a blank piece of paper.”
By choosing pencil and paper as the medium, Kerry made the fun accessible to every student in our area, all inclusive. By awarding monetary prizes for their efforts, he amplified the importance of students’ creative expression. Kerry continued his secret donations through Chewelah Arts Guild every year until his death in 2012.
Kerry watched the program expand to include eight local schools, a remarkable accomplishment. In the words of one amazed and grateful contestant,
“You should tell people who you are! You would be famous!”
Kerry was born December 19, 1944 in East Ely Nevada. He attended high school in Sunnyslope, AZ before joining the Army at the age of 17. Kerry served fourteen years in the Army, including two tours in Vietnam and one in Korea. He transferred from the Army to the Navy and retired after 22 1/2 years of service to his country. Kerry received numerous awards while in the military, most notably the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the Silver Star awarded in April 1968 for bravery and valor in Vietnam while a specialist four E4 United State Army Company D 1st Battalion 26th Infantry.
Following retirement Kerry settled on Upper Cottonwood Creek in Chewelah and lived there at his mountain home with his dog Baron before moving closer into Chewelah for his last 12 years. He was private and reserved but always ready to help those in need. He was introduced to recreation hunting and fishing adventures by his friend, Bob Brown. When his health was better, he was actively involved in the activities of his family, attending any event revolving around nieces, nephews and immediate family including all major holidays, family reunions. He was always willing to help family members.
The several wounds from his service in Viet Nam created numerous health challenges which ultimately led to his demise. Kerry died July 23, 2012 in Chewelah.
He is survived by brother Ira Lorell Earl and his wife Athlyn, a younger sister Leslee Sue Bellus, and younger brother Kelton Drew Earl.
If you have any information to further share about Kerry Earl please contact Tom Bristol (email@example.com), Kay Comer-Lupton (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Gail Johannes (email@example.com).
This year the Chewelah Arts Guild will continue to hold the Pencil Drawing Art Contest started by Kerry Earl. The show will be displayed first at the Souper Supper event at the Civic Center on March 15, 2013, 5-7 p.m. The exhibit will then be moved to the hallways in City Hall from March 22 to April 6, 2013 We are pleased and honored to present this contest in 2013 and are dedicating this year’s contest in memoriam to Kerry Earl with the theme “KERRY ON.”
Submitted by Tom Bristol, Chewelah Arts Guild President
In This Photo: The Arts Guild Souper Supper is dedicated to the late Kerry Earl, and advocate of the arts and creator of the Pencil Drawing Contest.