COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Late last year, USA Fencing invited members to temporarily set down their foils, epees and sabers and pick up their pencils, paintbrushes and styluses.
This request was part of the inaugural USA Fencing National Poster Design Challenge — a chance for members to create posters that represent fencing as a diverse, fun, accessible and safe sport for everyone.
We made the request, and you responded in a big way. We received dozens of member-submitted poster designs encompassing a range of artistic styles.
While every submission was excellent, we could select only four finalists. Those submissions are below — along with the stories behind them.
“This poster competition is proof that, collectively, our community believes in promoting unity and inclusion,” says Shannon Jolly, USA Fencing’s senior manager of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. “We received numerous submissions from all ages across the U.S., and we believe they all highlight an important attribute of belonging and community.”
Take a look, and then head to our Instagram Story beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, Jan. 25, to vote on your favorite. But hurry! The voting will be open for 24 hours — until 9 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, Jan. 26.
We plan to reveal all of the amazing submissions received in our new mobile art gallery that will be on display at future USA Fencing national tournaments. And the winning submission — as voted by you — will have their work printed and displayed at future NACs, in addition to receiving a free USA Fencing Competitive membership for the 2023-24 season.
Congrats to everyone who participated in the competition!
Club: Nova Fencing Club — Falls Church, Va.
In her words: As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a beginning fencer, it is important to me that I feel welcome in my fencing club and the sport writ large. Diversity and belongingness foster richness of experience and provide inroads to fencing for under-represented identities. The poster that I have created is an homage to sportspersonship and the importance of inclusion and allyship within fencing clubs and as peer athletes.
Club: Golubitsky Fencing Center — Tustin, Calif.
In her words: I believe my design creates a more safe, respectful and inclusive fencing community by fulfilling its role as a reminder for everyone what this ideal environment can and should look like. It can not only serve as a friendly reminder for fencers, parents, and coaches at convention centers or competitions, but it can also simply be displayed on club walls or posted on social media for a positive impact.
For example, at my club, there are numerous frames of my coach’s fencing career shown in photos. Even by stealing quick glances at these photos between practice bouts, I gain motivation to later become like him or the sense of individuality he carries behind the mask. Just as I was inspired by the photos of my coach fencing on my club’s wall, my design can also spark inspiration for others to also speak up for what they truly believe in
Club: Battle Born Fencing Club — Las Vegas, Nev.
In his words: I hope my painting promotes more unity among fencers through the ability to reflect one’s self by observing the painting and notice that eventually we are all the same when we stand on the strip under one sport.
Club: ValorUSA Fencing — Studio City, Calif.
In her words: I want people to walk by and feel like they can do fencing. I know everyone was young at one point and had the curiosity and innocence to try new things without judgment. If people can walk by and take away that they can be curious, adventurous and try fencing, regardless of their gender, their socioeconomic background, their physical ability, it will make fencing a more inclusive community
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