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Community

January 28, 2011

Art contest to focus on gambling addiction

LEAF Inc. is sponsoring a fine arts contest to help bring awareness to the growing phenomenon of problem gambling in Otsego County. LEAF is seeking artists to create striking images that can be used in a campaign to educate the public and prevent problems with gambling addiction in the local community. LEAF is being supported in its efforts with funding from the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

The contest is open to all artists. There will be "18 and under" and "adult" entry levels. In addition to a $1,000 grand prize, there will be a $500 first prize, a $250 second prize and a $100 third prize presented in each entry level. The artwork may be figurative or abstract, two- or three-dimensional and in any medium. The deadline for entering is April 11, and an opening and show of the artwork is being planned for May.

The theme of the contest is "Gambling: A Risky Business." According to a media release from LEAF, it is estimated that Americans lose $90 billion a year on all forms of gambling. More is spent on gambling than on music, video games and movie tickets combined.

According to an estimate by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, a body created by Congress to study the problem, compulsive gamblers account for $40 billion in annual losses to the national economy. Addicted gamblers often face job loss, bankruptcy and forced home sales. They are at greater risk to commit crimes such as child neglect, forgery and embezzlement and one in five has tried to commit suicide. Gambling addicts have the highest rate of suicide among all addictions.

In the release, LEAF said it is not looking for "poster art," but rather strong visual imagery that can be used to illustrate a point about problem gambling prevention. The artwork does not have to include gambling imagery and artists are encouraged to use their own imaginations about how to present the message effectively.

LEAF Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping create a community where children and adults can live in healthy environments that are free from the effects of alcoholism and other addictive diseases.

For information on entering the LEAF Art Contest, contact Carol Mandigo at LEAF Inc., 80 Water St., Oneonta, NY 13820, 432-0090, ext. 106, or carol.mandigo@leafinc.org.

The contest details may also be found on Facebook under "LEAF Art Contest."

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