Fort Worth, TX – Local Student Wins National Photography Award

Fort Worth Sister Cities International is proud to have a local student of Fort Worth, Texas bring home such an amazing achievement! Read about their success below!

Citizen Diplomacy Through Art

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (August 13, 2021) – Fort Worth Sister Cities International brings international attention to Fort Worth with its nine sister cities in China, Eswatini, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico since 1985.

This month local Fort Worth student Marissa Heckmann from I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA was announced as the third-place finalist in the photography category of the 2021 Young Artists and Authors Showcase (YAAS) held by Sister Cities International.

The YAAS has given youth from around the globe the opportunity to express their vision for a more unified, peaceful world through original artwork and literature. The 2021 Showcase encouraged youth to submit entries inspired by the theme “United in Hope.” Young artists and authors shared their vision of unity and highlighted the importance of hope and perseverance in both local and global communities to navigate these difficult times.

“Since its inception, youth have been submitting their inspiring artwork to the Young Artists and Authors Showcase. Every year, we are increasingly in awe of the youth’s work. This year’s entries are especially creative and expressive, exemplifying the theme in ways we never would have imagined. We’re excited to share the next generation’s work with the world on our website” said Leroy Allala, Sister Cities International President and CEO.

In past years, Sister Cities International has sent the artwork on tour to several cities across the U.S. However, due to the pandemic, this year it will not be possible to do so. This year’s winners and finalists will have their work showcased on the Sister Cities International website, making it accessible for many to appreciate the artwork. Additionally, the artwork was displayed in an art gallery during the Youth Leadership Summit Public Forum on August 12, 2021.

“In an increasingly divided world, Sister Cities brings individuals, cultures and countries together for the benefit of all,” said Becky Renfro Borbolla, Board Chairman. “While international travel is limited, that doesn’t mean global relationship building can’t continue.  We are so proud of Marissa’s creativity and her desire to make our world a better place.”

Funding and in-kind support from the City of Fort Worth (4% of Sister Cities’ budget) play a key role in its mission, but most of its work is made possible through public support.

For more information about Fort Worth Sister Cities visit