The State of the State Cover Page Art Contest, held in January 2022, challenged K-12 students to express their love for Michigan through art. Over 800 entries were received, with five finalists and one ultimate winner. The winning art piece was the work of Grace Murtha, a 7th grader at the time. Her artwork then became the cover of the 2022 State of the State program, and is now framed and prominently displayed in her room.
Grace's winning entry was a mixed media work, incorporating both watercolor and markers. Though new to watercolor at the time, her decision to experiment with the medium paid off when Governor Whitmer announced her as the winner during a Livestream to the entire state. Since her victory, Grace's approach to art has since evolved. She said, “I’m using more watercolor now… I was using a lot of markers before that”.
Though art is enjoyable for Grace, she does not plan on pursuing it as a profession. As she stated, "It's fun…[but]I'm not going to do it as a job." Grace will be submitting a piece for the 2023 Cover Page Contest, following this year’s theme "What makes Michigan strong?".