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The deadline for entering the Montana Meth Project's $300,000 Paint the State public art contest has been extended through July 3.

More than 1,000 entries from individuals and groups have been received. The entry deadline was extended because of overwhelming interest from community groups, said Dane Estes, a Montana Meth Project spokesman.

Paint the State encourages teens from ages 13 through 18 to create public art displays with an anti-meth message.

Each of Montana's 56 counties will offer prizes of $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place. The first-place winners in the county contests will advance to the statewide competition for a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize. Montana artist Russell Chatham will select the statewide winner Aug. 9.

County commissioners or their designees in each of the 56 counties will judge the entries based on message, artistic merit and creativity.

For information or to enter the contest, go to www.paintthestate.org. Entries can also be mailed to Paint the State Contest, Montana Meth Project, P.O. Box 8944, Missoula MT 59807.

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