Kassi Slowey, a freshman at Billings West High School in Montana and a student pilot, is the winner of a nationwide art contest sponsored by the Air Race Classic, the historic all-women cross-country airplane race.
The competition was open to girls ages 12 to 17.
A panel of judges from the American Association of Aviation Artists chose Kassi, 14, as the young artist whose entry best evoked the theme “Flying Cross-Country”— a subject reflecting the freedom and skill involved in flying the Air Race Classic, an annual four-day, 2,500-mile long-distance airplane race for women pilots.
Her artwork, created with a combination of paints, pastels and markers, depicts a breathtaking skyscape with a flock of soaring birds, an airplane in flight and a young woman about to take wing, according to officials.
“Kassi Slowey, winner of the first Air Race Classic Art Contest, captured in her winning artwork the spirit of flight and dreams of a strong young woman,” said aviation artist and contest judge Kristin Hill. “As ARC opens people’s imaginations regarding possibilities for women of all ages, Kassi shares that inspiration with others through the expressive image she has created. As a career aviation artist, I look forward to seeing more of Kassi’s achievements in art, aviation and life.”
To celebrate the young artist’s achievement, Hill exhibited Kassi’s winning entry among her own works of aviation art on display at the nation’s largest gathering of pilots, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wis. The event, held the last week in July, drew more than a half-million pilots from across the country and around the world.
Members of the American Association of Aviation Artists will be mentoring Kassi throughout the year, to keep nurturing her artistic talent.
While she was at Oshkosh, the young pilot-to-be also was treated to a 30-minute airplane ride with U.S. national aerobatic champion Debby Rihn-Harvey.
“I was extremely honored that my art was on display at such a huge event as Oshkosh, among the amazing artwork of Kristin Hill,” said Kassi. “Flying with Debby Rihn-Harvey was absolutely amazing. I had so much fun. I’d like to express to everyone who was involved in making that happen that I cannot thank you enough!”
Kassi, the daughter of two pilots, has been flying for practically her entire life. She loves aerobatics and has flown seaplanes and gliders, as well as land-based powered aircraft. Once she turns 16 and is old enough to solo, Kassi plans on earning her pilot’s license and eventually becoming a commercial pilot and traveling the world.