"It was Mr. Briggs," Dutton, now 35, said, recalling the event. "I made this tiger, and he liked it so much that he lent it to some contest, and it ended up at an exhibition hall in South Korea.
"I got this letter from the U.S. ambassador to South Korea about how much he liked the piece. He said I should be proud of this great opportunity to have my work displayed.
"I was upset at the time. I just wanted to know when I was going to get my sculpture back!"
Dutton is now an artist for Google and today he understands what the experience really meant.
"I realized there was actually an audience for art," he said. "I think that's something I've carried with me through my artistic career -- that feeling that art is a form of communication."
Because Google says it values the importance of encouraging young artists, the company launched its latest national Doodle4Google contest for students 18 and younger.
The theme this year is "My Best Day Ever." The winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. There are other cool prizes for runners-up.
Kids can send in submissions now through March 22. Entry forms and rules are at www.google.com/doodle4google.
A panel of judges will select the 50 best doodles -- one from each U.S. state. State winners will be announced May 2.
Then the public gets to vote (at www.google.com/doodle4google) to help pick the national finalists and winner, who'll be announced at an awards ceremony in New York on May 22.
The winner's doodle will appear on Google.com on May 23.
Let the doodling begin.
The Washington Post
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