First-place winner Zion-Alexander Luerson and her 2024 Mardi Gras! Galveston winning poster design
First-place winner Zion-Alexander Luerson and her 2024 Mardi Gras! Galveston winning poster design

In a sea of purple, green and gold, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. But College of the Mainland graphic arts student, Zion-Alexander Luerson did just that after earning top honors in the 2024 Mardi Gras! Galveston poster contest. As the first-place winner, Luerson’s design will now serve as the face of this year’s festivities.

As the winner of the official poster contest of Mardi Gras! Galveston by Yaga’s Entertainment, Luerson of La Marque earned a $1,000 prize and will have her work reproduced as the official 2024 poster. And while Luerson is certainly excited for the accolades and exposure, she is most grateful to those around her for giving her the confidence to believe that she could get here.

“I have a lot of gratitude,” Luerson said. “I just know that sometimes you kind of feel lost in your passionate pursuits because it feels like it’s going nowhere. But somehow or another, if you keep pressing it, I know that those doors will open up. Really, it’s about saying yes to every opportunity.”

Competing against entries from across the region, the annual contest allows artists to showcase their best two-dimensional or digital/graphic designs highlighting the spirit and revelry of Galveston’s historic 113th annual celebration. The College’s record in the competition is particularly impressive, as this is the fifth time the distinction has been awarded to a COM graphic arts student.

Led by graphic arts professor Coleena Jackson, COM’s graphic arts program allows students to gain hands-on experience in a variety of areas in the design industry, including digital photo manipulation and computer illustration. And as Luerson explains, she appreciates the rich learning opportunities where she has been able to discover her unique strengths and talents inside the classroom and beyond.

“It’s kind of like you get to know yourself by creating identities because then you understand your style,” Luerson said.  “Even while everybody might know the same things, everyone’s going to come out with different outcomes.”

Luerson expects to graduate in Fall 2024 and is looking to further her educational pursuits at Savannah College of Art & Design. After that she hopes to pursue a career in storyboarding or as a children’s book illustrator.

“I joined the program to kind of test the waters, but now I realize that it’s a viable career.”

To learn more about College of the Mainland’s graphic arts program, visit