Grace Curran has been waiting to find out if her artwork would come one step closer to adorning the famous Technicolor search engine.
Now it’s confirmed. Voters can cast a vote for the illustration by the Denton eighth grader, who won the Texas contest of the 14th annual Doodle for Google competition.
Voting started Thursday and continues through Tuesday, July 12, at doodle4google.com, and the ballots cast will help decide if Curran’s winning work could one day top the tech behemoth’s famous search page for a day.
The young artist, who attends Calhoun Middle School, was surprised by the news that the vote to find the five finalists is at hand. Google had hit the pause button on voting after the mass shooting in Uvalde, leaving the 54 winners from the states and U.S. territories waiting patiently for the contest to continue.
“This is completely insane,” Grace said, taking a break from a family pickleball game to talk about the contest. “I did look at some news articles from other parts of the country. I really liked the one from Maine. It was really beautiful.”
In January, Google invited students across the U.S. to answer the prompt “I care for myself by ...” with a doodle that symbolizes self-care as an antidote for the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company often uses an illustration in place of its usual logo on google.com to honor a famous birthday or achievement, a holiday or the start of a new season.
Curran was one of hundreds of artists who answered the call for Google’s student contest. For Grace, self-care includes sports and physical activity, so her doodle spells out the rainbow-colored logo with a diving swimmer as the G, a gymnast and tennis player as the two O’s, a basketball player as the G, an ice skater as the L and a soccer player as the E.
Other young artists took to their sketchbooks, colored pencils or watercolors — or, like Grace, they fired up a tablet computer — to draw images showing helpful strategies to take care of yourself. The submitted art including spending time in nature, being active, taking part in creative hobbies and spending time with loved ones.
When the company’s judges selected Grace’s design as the Texas Doodle for Google winner, Calhoun Middle School surprised her with an assembly to announce it. She got some Google swag and more limelight than she prefers.
Grace said her family is spending the summer on what they’re calling “a technology break.”
“We’re still watching TV and that stuff, but it’s just the personal devices we’re not using. I’m not using my tablet, and my sister is taking a break, too,” Curran said.
Google would surely approve.
Grace said her family has been spending time outdoors and has taken the Rubber Ducky — their bright yellow canoe — out for an afternoon on the water. They took a canoe trip on a lake and enjoyed a campout.
“I don’t know about other people, but I think of camping as physical activity,” Grace said.
Fair enough. Camping implies hours around a fire and obligatory s’mores, but anyone who has wrestled a tent out of a gear bag knows that camping can get the heart rate up.
Grace said she looked forward to seeing the gallery of state and territory winners but urged locals to vote with their heart.
“I would tell people to vote for their favorite art, because there are some really beautiful ones in there,” she said. “I’d tell people not just to vote for mine because they live in Denton. Vote for the best one.”