COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For the second year in a row, USA Fencing invited members to set down their foils, epees, and sabers and pick up their pencils, paintbrushes and styluses.
This was the second year for this request, the 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.
This year, we upped the ante with not one but two categories:
While every submission was excellent, we could select only four finalists in the "Human-made" artwork not made with AI. Those submissions are below — along with the stories behind them.
In the AI generated category, the winner is below along with the story behind it.
“This year's submissions for the Inclusive Poster Challenge were simply AMAZING! We received a very competitive pool of creatives who have developed posters that reflect the fencing community we should all hope to see - a space for EVERYONE to be their authentic selves, ” says Shannon Jolly, USA Fencing’s senior manager of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Take a look, and then head to our Instagram Story beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, Jan. 24, to vote on your favorite. But hurry! The voting will be open for 24 hours — until 9 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, Jan. 25.
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 2024-25 season.
Congrats to everyone who participated in the competition!
Club: Fargo-Moorhead Fencing Club & Twin Cities Fencing Club
In their words: I think my favorite thing about fencing aside from the actual fencing is meeting the variety of amazing people that unite together through our shared love of sport. Behind the mask, there exists so much more.
Club: Athens Fencing Club & Capital Fencing Academy -
In their words: My simple, but vivid artwork promotes diversity through the unique ethnicity of each fencer - one is Caucasian, one is African-American, one is Latina, and one is Asian-American. Additionally, there are both men and women of all ages, up-to-interpretation. One is even a parafencer, using a wheelchair with a rainbow wheel, which symbolizes the LGBTQ2+ community. Furthermore, this poster reflects the equipment of all three Olympic weapons: foil, épée, and sabre. The fencers in this artwork are shown to be close together to show support, equity, and inclusion. Together, they look onward as they share their hopes, dreams, ambitions, and goals.
Fencing is for all.
Fencing Club Affiliation: Seoul Foreign School
In their words: My artwork provides inclusion through the message, “fencing is for everyone”. I tried to show this through showing different fencers, especially through showing both parafencing and standard fencing. I think that most people don’t really consider parafencing as real fencing, because it’s different from standard fencing and because it’s “easy”. However, I was fortunate enough to be able to try parafencing for fun once, and I discovered that it’s really challenging and fun as standard fencing, and I really enjoyed it.
Club: Arena Fencing Academy
In their words: When creating this piece, I was inspired by the imagery of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table uniting their swords, the gesture symbolizing their unity, equality, chivalry, and honor. The reason that the wizard Merlin made the table round was to represent the world, showing how the knights surrounding the table come from all countries with chivalry, and also so that no one can claim superiority over the other- once more calling back to the "equality" that those who sit round the table represent. While there is no round table in my poster, the poses of the four fencers- representing the three weapons and para fencing- uniting the tips of their weapons reference the ideals of this legendary symbol. Although in the legend, King Arthur and his kingdom tragically collapsed, I believe that these ideals that he upheld perfectly represent what our fencing community should be. Inclusive for all, where no one person is less than the other for who they are or where they hail from, where we are all united equally as fencers in this sport we all love and cherish. Fencing is an honorable sport, and honor is upheld by respect, integrity, and inclusion. As long as we maintain these vital components of our community, we are as great and righteous as we are knights of a grand kingdom of legend.
Club: Austin Fencers Club
In their words: My artwork promotes diversity through the array of fencers displayed in it, from different fencing styles, racial / cultural backgrounds, and inclusion of parafencing. The message of "anyone can fence" displayed in the center of this artwork drives this home. The action-packed scene in the fire at the bottom also makes fencing look fun and exciting, and implies to the viewer that anyone could be in their place.