ArtPop 2018 Billboard Competition Winners Announced

Eight area artists, including one high school winner, to have their work featured on Adams Outdoor Advertising billboards in 2018

A colorful underwater landscape by a Nazareth high school senior and a 3D CGI/digital work by an 18-year-old, self-taught 2D/3D designer highlight the eight winning works in the 4th annual ArtPop Billboard Competition presented by Adams Outdoor Advertising and the nonprofit ArtsQuest. The winning artists, selected via a juried competition, will have their work displayed on Adams Outdoor Advertising billboards on major thoroughfares in the region from the week of Jan. 8 through the end of December 2018.

This year’s ArtPop competition featured a record number of submissions, with nearly 200 entries. Among the eight winners is 18-year-old Ryen Valentin of Allentown, who created a dynamic computer generated image titled “HARAJUKU DAYLIGHT,” and Kathryn Dawe of Nazareth Area High School, who impressed the judges with her acrylic painting of an octopus, “Emerging From The Deep.” Dawe will not only have her work on a billboard for all of 2018, she will also be awarded a $1,000 scholarship to a Kutztown University art program by the Kutztown University Foundation.


“We are overwhelmed with the incredible number of local artists who submitted their artwork this year,” says Adams Outdoor Advertising General Manager Tony Cioffi. “The 190 entries are a new record and all of the submissions were outstanding. It was extremely hard work for our judges to select only a handful of winners.”

As part of the ArtPop competition, the official jurying panel selected six artists ages 18 or older to be featured on area billboards next year, with Valentin’s work to be located in Warren County as part of the ArtPop program’s expansion into New Jersey. The eighth winner, Cecelia Grant of Kutztown, was chosen as the “People’s Choice Winner” through a public vote that ended Dec. 13. More than 4,100 people voted in the competition this year.

“Quilting, painting, ceramics and so much more – the Class of 2018 ArtPop Lehigh Valley artists will truly make area residents’ commute so much more enjoyable,” says ArtPop founder Wendy Hickey. “We are proud and grateful to be back in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding counties for the fourth year in a row.”

The complete list of ArtPop 2018 winners is:

Cecily Mowad, Easton
Metal Head – Oil on Wood

James O’Connor, Bethlehem
Phosphenes – Digital Collage

Deborah Slahta, Bethlehem
Raku Tea Bowl – Ceramics, Raku Fired

Ashley Dorney, Quakertown
The Dead Waltz – Black Prismacolor pencil on wood panel

Alison Bessesdotter, Macungie
Stratum 22 – Quilt

Ryen Valentin, Allentown

High School Competition:
Kathryn Dawe, Nazareth Area High School
Emerging From The Deep – Acrylic paint

People’s Choice Winner:
Cecelia Grant, Kutztown
Mint Humor – Acrylic on canvas

Started by Wendy Hickey in Charlotte, N.C., ArtPop is a national arts initiative designed to highlight local artists and the important roles they play in the community by showcasing their work on outdoor advertising space. The Lehigh Valley’s ArtPop program, now in its fourth year, is a partnership between Adams Outdoor Advertising of the Lehigh Valley, the national ArtPop Street Gallery, the nonprofit ArtsQuest and Kutztown University.

Members of the ArtPop jurying panel were:

  • Stacie Brennan, Sr. Director of Visual Arts, ArtsQuest
  • Danielle Smith, Graphic Designer, Adams Outdoor Advertising
  • Wendy Hickey, Executive Director, ArtPop Street Gallery
  • William Childs, Community Leader
  • Barbara Fraust, Public Arts Chair, Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission
  • Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson, First Lady of Kutztown University
  • David Mickenberg, President and CEO of Allentown Art Museum
  • Olaf Starorypinski, Professional Photographer and 2015 ArtPop Winner

“We were so impressed by the quality and diversity of the submissions,” says Stacie Brennan, Sr. Director of Visual Arts at ArtsQuest. “The artist billboards will not only provide an opportunity to celebrate the diverse array of mediums and talent that make up the artist community in the Lehigh Valley, but they will also help to bring beauty in unexpected places for commuters. We are thankful to our partners at Adams, ArtPop and Kutztown for making this program possible.”

For more information on the local ArtPop program, please visit For details on the national ArtPop program, check out