Grand prize winner "Free Masks Take One" by Lani Chaves of Pittsboro
A North Carolina community newspaper recently held an art contest that invited readers to submit original art about life during the coronavirus pandemic. But the Chatham News + Record soon began receiving entries from all over the globe, bringing the world "a little bit closer" at a time when the need for cross-cultural understanding and cooperation is ever more important.

The contest was "designed to find the iconic image to define the era of covid-19," writes University of Kentucky associate journalism professor Buck Ryan, who helped launch the contest. Ryan, the director of a civic-engagement project, is doing a case study of the News + Record, which he views as a model of success for community newspapers here and abroad.

Duke University visiting scholar Siqi Zhang, president of the North Carolina Chinese Scholars Sino-US Exchange Association, helped promote the contest in China and elsewhere. Entries in the categories of Food, Heroes, and Love came from as far away as Russia, China and Bangladesh, all depicting what life looked like for people during the pandemic. Click here to see the winning entries.