CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The Cooper River Bridge Run announces the winner of their 2020 Design Contest.
“This is a dream come true,” says former Marine Joe Wilhite. Cheers erupted as his artwork was revealed to the crowd.
Not only was Joe selected as the overall winner, he also won the people’s choice vote. This is the first time a participant has received both awards.
He says the piece took over 80 hours and over 4,000 watercolor brush strokes on Adobe Photoshop.
“So, I was basically just drawing like you would on a canvas. The only benefit is, I had undo,” says Wilhite.
Joe was injured during his time as a US Marine; but was given the opportunity to go back to school and pursue his passion. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in art and graphic design in 2018.
Joe’s design will be featured on the race t-shirt, billboard, merchandise and for the first time ever; the finishing medal.
“It’s exciting, and I should warn everybody that when the first billboard goes up, I’ll have to pull over on I-26 to get a picture of it,” he says.
Over 27,000 people participated in the Cooper River Bridge Run last year. Joe is so thrilled to have that many people wearing his designs that he plans to cross the finish line himself.
“The people of the Lowcountry are my canvas,” he says.
“They’re all going to be wearing my artwork. I’m going to be crossing that finish line with my design and medal on. To see everyone with me, its just surreal.”
The remaining submitted designs were displayed and auctioned off. All the proceeds will go to the 12 charities they support.
Moving forward, Joe hopes to become an art teacher and spread his passion to others. If you’d like to see more of his designs, click here.