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Arizona Lottery Wants Your Día de los Muertos Artwork for its Scratchers

Written by Lauren Loftus Category: Culture Issue: February 2017
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Photo courtesy Arizona Lottery.Art, Hispanic culture and gambling. If ever something embodied the spirit of Arizona better…

We kid. But the Arizona Lottery is combining all three by putting out a call for original artwork to be used on a Día de los Muertos themed lottery ticket. The selected artist will create at least two scenes to appear on $2 Scratchers tickets that will be sold in nearly 3,000 stores statewide in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15.

“We really wanted to expand our reach with the Hispanic community here in Arizona – we thought that offering up a ticket to players celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month would be a good way to do that,” says Nikki O’Shea, public information officer at Arizona Lottery.

Separate from the broad beneficiaries (like education, health and human services and the environment) the state lottery is required by law to contribute to, the lottery also sets aside ticket sales proceeds to help fund nonprofits through the community sponsorship program. O’Shea says this program has long contributed to groups supporting the state’s Hispanic population, such as Chicanos Por La Causa for community development, Valle del Sol for community health and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. (The Phoenix Valley has the eighth highest Hispanic population in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center, with more than 1.34 million Hispanics calling the metro area home.) The Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, often characterized by colorful skulls and shrines) ticket will be one more way to lift up these groups.

“We attend lottery conferences every so often and share ideas with other [states’] lotteries,” O’Shea says of the idea for the contest. “New Mexico’s lottery had recently introduced a Día de los Muertos ticket and the artwork was really beautiful.” The goal, she says, is for Arizona Lottery to run a new Hispanic Heritage Month ticket each year with a different theme.

For the inaugural ticket, which will debut in August and run for about 16 weeks, submissions are due Tuesday, February 21 by 5 p.m. The selected artist will also win $5,000.

O’Shea says the artist doesn’t have to be Hispanic but stresses the selection committee is looking “first and foremost” for originality; “secondly for artwork that captures the theme”; and “third, for the appeal to lottery audiences and marketability to our players.”

Further rules and application requirements can be found on the Arizona Lottery website, arizonalottery.com.