MUSCATINE, Iowa—Muscatine native Kalli McCleary never considered entering an art contest until recently. Though McCleary shared she has, “been drawing and creating since I was a kid,” and that she taught herself graphic design skills after she graduated from college, she had never thought about trying her hand in a drawing competition. When one of her friends took a trip to Austin, Texas and saw that Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer had a can design contest going on, he encouraged her to enter.
Always up for a challenge, McCleary took him up, creating a digital drawing to submit. Titled, “So Good You Want to Steal It” the design features a whimsical raccoon with a human bandit companion sneaking off into the night with a Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer logo. McCleary drew inspiration from her love of raccoons and the playful pun of placing what she described as, “nature’s bandit,” with a real bandit.
About two weeks ago, McCleary learned that her drawing had made the cut and would advance to become one of 20 entries the public could vote on as the final can design. As one of 3,000 entries, McCleary felt very honored to make it so far. “I didn’t know how many entries there would be,” she shared. “I’m flattered to have my design included with so many elaborate designs.”
As a finalist, McCleary has the potential to win $10,000 as well as have her design printed on cans sold across the country. Though she welcomes the money, she still says she would most, “love to see my art on some beer cans,” embracing the opportunity to share her art with the public and allow each person to experience her creation differently.
McCleary said that Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer would announce the can art contest winner the afternoon of Feb. 28, after this newspaper went to press. However, McCleary had high hopes that she could at least earn third place. “I could see myself winning third because my design looks unique, but some of the others are very technical,” she mused.