Puyallup Herald

First-ever ‘Who We Are Puyallup’ contest announces winners

Don Snowden won second place in the adult art category in the “Who We Are Puyallup” writing, art and film contest for his “scratch-art” portrait of Ezra Meeker, a founding father of Puyallup.
Don Snowden won second place in the adult art category in the “Who We Are Puyallup” writing, art and film contest for his “scratch-art” portrait of Ezra Meeker, a founding father of Puyallup. allison.needles@puyallupherald.com

When third-grader Payton Tibbitts read her “Who Are We Puyallup” essay in front of a crowd at the Karshner Museum on Feb. 6, she hit on some big issues.

“I can make a difference in Puyallup by picking up trash and giving food and money to the homeless,” she said. “I will also be kind to people in my community.”

Tibbitts won first place in the student essay category of “Who We Are Puyallup” writing, art and film contest. This is the first year the contest has been held and was inspired by the “Who Are We? A Kaleidoscope of Washington” exhibit, which came to the Karshner Museum in August from the office of Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

The contest asks the question: Who are we as a community?

And many community members responded.

“We had eight adult artists enter, around 50 student artists and 35 essays,” Karshner Museum exhibit and events planner Lynda Belt said.

There were five categories in the contest: student art, student photo, essay, adult art and film. There was also a People’s Choice award.

In the gallery at the Karshner Museum, there were photographs of the fair and local statues. There were paintings of town founder Ezra Meeker and daffodils, all created by young and old alike. Each piece was judged by a panel of community members.

On Feb. 6, a reception was held to announce the winners and honorable mentions. First place winners received medals and a $50 prize. Second place winners won a $25 prize.

A student at Fruitland Elementary in Puyallup, Tibbetts found out about the contest through her teacher. She was excited when she found out she won.

“Being able to win first place in a district-wide contest is a big accomplishment,” she said.

Rogers High School student Haylee Patrician was the second-place winner in the student essay contest, and wrote about the Washington State Fair.

“I was born and raised (in Puyallup),” she said. “Personally, to me, the fair is iconic. It shows how lovely Puyallup is… I hope when people read (my essay) that they’re actually at the fair, reliving their memories.”

Ron and Don Snowden are twin brothers from Puyallup who won the first and second place prizes in the adult art category.

Ron, who won first place, painted a portrait of Ezra Meeker with watercolors. He wanted to paint it because he’s sure his ancestors met Ezra Meeker.

“That’s why I painted it, because my relatives or ancestors probably met him,” Ron said. “I was looking for something interesting to do about Puyallup and I’ve lived here some 50 some years.”

Don created a portrait of Ezra Meeker as well — but instead of water color, he used “scratch art.” Using hypodermic needles and a blackboard, he scratched every intricate hair on Ezra Meeker’s beard.

“It’s just the opposite of doing watercolor ‘cause you’re bringing the highlights out, instead of painting the shadows,” he said. “It’s pretty painstaking.”

Ron and Don Snowden have been painting since they were kids — and while the competition is there, it’s all in good fun.

“They said, ‘Second place, Don,’ and I said, ‘What!’” Don Snowden joked.

“We’re both artistic,” Ron Snowden said. “We’ve taken classes together. I remember one time in a class we sat there and both painted the same picture at the same time, kind of fighting with our brushes and kind of having a wrestling match.”

The art will be on display at the Puyallup Public Library and the Honoring Cultures and Diversity exhibit at the Spring Fair.

Allison Needles: 253-597-8507, @herald_allison

The “Who We Are Puyallup” contest winners are as follows:

Student art


  • 1st place —Moses Tennett, Aylen Junior High
  • 2nd place —Kiele Zacker, Aylen Junior High

Honorable mentions:

  • Axelle Salazar, Aylen Junior High
  • Aiden Fleming, Aylen Junior High
  • Bryson Flores, home school

Student photo


  • 1st place – Emily Hendershot, Rogers High School
  • 2nd place – Ricky Lopez, Rogers High School

Honorable mentions:

  • Riley Lund, Rogers High School
  • Kelvin Fernando, Rogers High School

People’s Choice:

  • Benjamin Rood, Rogers High School



  • 1st place — Payton Tibbitts, Fruitland Elementary
  • 2nd place — Haylee Patrician, Rogers High School

Honorable mentions:

  • Bryce Brozovich, Fruitland Elementary
  • Yareli Dominguez Vazquez, Fruitland Elementary
  • Naomi An, Fruitland Elementary
  • Tehwan Fejarang, Fruitland Elementary
  • Velma Williams (senior citizen) lives at Merrill Gardens

Adult art


  • 1st place — Ron Snowden
  • 2nd place — Don Snowden

Honorable mentions:

  • Amanda Warring
  • Karen St. Clair


  • “Panjah of Jesus”, Adult