About the Author: Brandon J. Jackson is a Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang, China.
Adorning the walls of the consular waiting room at the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang are photographs of recent trips to the United States made by students and tourists, as well as a number of colorful collages and computer-generated images that address the theme “Visas Open Doors -- Where Does Yours Lead?” The selection of artwork, chosen from more than 200 submissions from the three provinces in Northeastern China -- Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang -- is the product of a recent art contest organized by the Consulate's consular section. In recognition of the finalists' achievements, and to celebrate the unveiling of the artwork, the Consulate hosted the 20 finalists, their family members and the Chinese judges who are currently serving as the visa and passport directors of the three provinces.
Consulate General Shenyang's art competition is part of the consular section's ongoing effort to find creative ways to conduct consular outreach. Shenyang has seen an unprecedented increase in visa demand and information requests. By capturing the transformative effects U.S. visas can have on individuals and communities, each piece of artwork uniquely conveys the important message that the United States is a nation that opens doors to opportunity, imagination, scientific exploration, and discovery. Moreover, each artist's articulation of the theme “Visas Open Doors -- Where Does Yours Lead?" will, as Consul General Sean B. Stein remarked, "help to advance the values and integrity of the visa process for everyone who comes to the Shenyang Consulate."
As the consular section prepares for another busy winter, and probably even busier summer, the artists' illustrations will remind everyone -- applicants and interviewers alike -- that traveling to the United States continues to open doors.