News Release
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
March 29, 2002
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Texas State Quarter: The New Face of Pocket Change

By Senator Troy Fraser

Two years from now, some of our pocket change will have a distinctly Texas look to it -- namely on the back of quarters. The question is, what symbol will be chosen to represent our state? A longhorn? The Alamo? The Lone Star itself? Perhaps an armadillo or two?

Since 1975, Americans have been using the Bicentennial quarter; but in recent years, the traditional eagle (or the colonial drummer that was minted in 1976 to commerate the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Indepedence) has been replaced by a variety of individul designs signifying state pride and unity.

Georgia, for example, chose a peach, Indiana, an Indy race car, Kentucky, a thoroughbred racehorse, thanks to the 50 State Quarters Program run by the United States Mint.

The program is changing the hobby of coin collecting and gaining popularity among consumers. Through the 10-year initiative (1999-2008) the U.S. Mint releases a new state quarter five times a year, so coin collectors have something to look foward to roughly every 10 weeks.

Each quarter's reverse side celebrates one of the 50 states with a design honoring its unique history, traditions and symbols. States are honored in the order in which they ratified the U.S. Constitution.

Our turn is coming; Texas became the 28th state in 1845.

With that in mind, the Texas Quarter Dollar Coin Design Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5 in the Texas Capitol Extension to consider which potential designs will be submitted to Governor Rick Perry for his consideration.

After that decision is made, a limited number of finalists will be submitted by the governor to the U.S. Mint, and the Texas coin will begin circulation in 2004.

In the meantime, the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is working to make the quarter's change educational and interesting for children and teens through a school-centered program called the Texas Quarter Educational Project & Exhibition.

The project parallels the U.S. Mint's 50 State Quarters Program and teaches students valuable lessons about currency as well as art.

As part of this program, the TCA solicited ideas from public schools, and invited students to participate in a contest to design a "state of the arts" Texas coin. Grades 4 and 7 were specifically targeted because students concentrate on Texas history and culture in these grades. Students involved in this exercise drew upon Texas symbols to express personal art and demonstrated an understanding of how coins reflect the time, place and culture in which they were created.

The TCA will identify and select the most representative and artistic designs for the Texas quarter from students across the state in grades K-12. One design per grade level will be minted in plastic as a commemorative coin for the participating artist and the winning designs will be shown on a touring exhibition from April 19- Sept. 15, 2002.

The quarter design contest is part of TCA's broader on-line education curriculum. TCA designed electronic lesson plans in the subjects of social studies, fine arts, mathematics and science that aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. The Texas quarter contest was the focus of the visual arts component of this educational program.

For more information about the Texas Quarter Education Project and Exhibition, please contact the Texas Commission on the Arts at 800-252-9415 or on their Web site: www.arts.state.tx.us. Also, contact the U.S. Mint at www.usmint.gov to find out more detailed information about the 50 State Quarters Program.

State Senator Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, represents a 21-county district that includes the Highland Lakes region.

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