Winning artwork unveiled for 2020 Cooper River Bridge Run

Updated: Aug. 28, 2019 at 7:33 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) -The winning artwork has been unveiled for the 2020 Cooper River Bridge Run.

The winning design was created by Joe Wilhite, a Charleston resident, who is both the People’s Choice winner and the overall winner of the 2020 design contest.

“Joe Wilhite’s intention with his winning Cooper River Bridge Run painting was to convey the excitement of the Cooper River Bridge Run while highlighting the beauty of the Lowcountry,” Cooper River Bridge Run organizers said.

This design will be featured on t-shirts and posters for the 43rd Annual Bridge Run.

In addition to bragging rights, Wilhite also took home a $1,000 prize, 100 posters, and 24 t-shirts.

According to bridge run organizers, there were 46 entries in the 2020 Bridge Run Design Contest, and the winning artwork was determined during a private voting ceremony comprised of sponsors, charities and community leaders.

“Before that, the Charleston community and Bridge Run enthusiasts had some skin in the game and participated in a People’s Choice online vote, where the winner (Wilhite) automatically jumped up to the top ten designs to be considered.,” organizers said.

To register for the Bridge Run click here.

Joe Wilhite and his dog Babygirl.
Joe Wilhite and his dog Babygirl.

Bridge run organizers released the following additional information:

Joe Wilhite is a graphic designer and currently employed at Nelson Printing, located in Charleston, SC. He was born in Sarasota, Florida and moved to the Lowcountry after serving in the United States Marines. Joe was medically discharged in 2005. In 2015, the Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Department gave him the opportunity to go back to school. He attended and graduated from the Art Institute of Charleston in 2018, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic Design. Joe currently lives in Goose Creek with his two-year-old Rottweiler, “Babygirl”. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree online. When he completes his graduate studies, Joe aspires to be a part time teacher motivating others to follow their dreams. This will allow him to stay current in the field while also passing along knowledge, skills and passion to others.

Joe’s artwork has become well-known in the Lowcountry for being chosen as the winning artist for the James Island Connector Run design in 2017. He then went on to design the “Solar Eclipse” for Darkness to Light in 2017, “Lip Sync for Lungs” for the American Lung Association in 2018, and the designs for “Isle of Palms Marina Festival” and the 2019 “James Island Connector Run”.

For more of Joe’s work visit

43rd Annual Bridge Run Design Description by Winning Artist, Joe Wilhite:

To build my composition, I began with a collage of photos that I edited using only the lines of the bridge as guides. I then digitally hand painted the canvas using watercolor brushes. The rising sun just over the horizon was intended to represent the luminous morning of the race. The sky filled with cotton candy-like clouds brighten the canvas with shades of yellow and orange. The bright white which highlights the bridge, almost appears to come off the canvas. As your eyes move forward, the bridge begins to fade off into the distance. You notice the Cooper River surrounding the Ravenel Bridge with unblended tones of blue, lavender, orange and yellow. The sharp fluidity skips off the brush mimicking the lapping surface of the river. Each dab and stroke were executed with a specific purpose and in a distinct way.

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