Alex Irwin collected a 3rd place ribbon and a $250 check for her entry in the Cottonwood Arts Festival Emerging Artists contest, but she wasn’t finished. The compassionate Lake Highlands senior had taken the photos last summer in Nepal while on a mission trip with Projects Abroad, and during the Cottonwood judging period, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal killing at least 5800 people. Alex wanted to help, so she jumped into high-gear.
At this weekend’s art festival, you’ll not only be able to view Alex’s work, you’ll be able to purchase some. Alex has created post cards from her photos ($4 each) and you can order full size photo prints (12 x 18 for $50). Proceeds will go to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund for relief efforts in Nepal.
“I want to help the people of Nepal because going there completely changed my life,” says Alex, who spent much of her time working with children at the Nava Suryodaya Secondary School in the Kathmandu Valley. “I gained so much perspective of the world through meeting all of the wonderful adults, and especially kids, I worked with. They were some of the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever met. I want to do everything I can to help them, because they will always hold such a special place in my heart and memories.”
Alex, who will attend Creighton University in Nebraska next year, says she was forever changed by the experience.
“In Nepal I learned how to be a much better person,” reflects Alex. “The Nepalese people were so welcoming and warm. Even though they had so little, they always seemed so happy. Their attitudes and actions towards me made me realize how to be selfless, and I try to act that way whenever I can. Since I returned, I have been trying to make the best of every situation, and leave behind no regrets. I have become much more grateful for the amazing opportunities I have been given.”
Also on display at Cottonwood will be the work of LHHS’ Lynsey Strese, named Emerging Artist Best of Show, Courtney MacDonald – Honorable Mention, Claire Pask – People’s Choice Award, and Rebecca Howland.
Alex’s booth is #73 (or somewhere on that row), and the festival is open from 10-7 Saturday, May 2 and 10-5 Sunday, May 3. You can learn more on Alex’s website here.