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‘Wild About Art’

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On Saturday May 12 students from local public schools displayed their art at the Town Square Mall in Spring Hill. Six students from each school were chosen to present their works. The theme of this 20th Annual Art Gallery was “Wild About Art.” 

Parents; teachers; students and local dignitaries including county commissioner Wayne Dukes, school board members Mark Johnson, Linda Prescott and Gus Guadagnino and Superintendent Dr. Lori Romano attended the exhibition. Everyone was invited to vote for their favorite pieces. The Springstead High School Jazz Band under the direction of Richard Dasher entertained the crowd with an assortment of tunes. 

The students displayed amazing creativity and talent in a variety of media, including  photography, pastels, pen and ink, crayon and colored pencil. The subjects and styles varied, as well. Nature, still life and portraits were included and styles styles from realism to surrealism. Many showed influences of well-known artists such as Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. Pop culture and patriotic themes also influenced some of the works. 

Daniel Drake, a sophomore at Hernando High School has been drawing since he was six years old and painting since he was ten. He exhibited at Art in the Park this year and won the Superintendent’s Award at last year’s Student Art Gallery. 

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Daniel remarked, “My painting of sunflowers is done in acrylics. I was inspired by watching the movie Shrek with my grandma. There were sunflowers in the movie. I did   the painting from a photograph.” 

His teacher, Michael Nicholson discussed the photography portion of the Art curriculum at Hernando High, which often involves field trips to various places. 

“Trevor Barlow [a local photographer] teaches photography, photography manipulation and Adobe Illustrator Photoshop. Students went to Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom, took photos and then manipulated them into abstract pictures,” explained Nicholson.    

Cassidy Still, a 7th-grader at Winding Waters K-8, who has been painting since she was ten years old, did a unique take on one of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous paintings. She called it ‘Starry Night BTS Mash-up.’ 

“I used oil pastels and colored pencil and placed the singers from my favorite band, BTS [a seven-member South Korean boy band] in the painting. I’d like to get my artwork known even if it’s just online. I have an Instagram account and post some of my artwork there.” 

Bekem Papa, a second grader at Brooksville Elementary School, comes from an artistic family, having two sisters who also paint. 

“My painting is called ‘Mexican Church.’ I used watercolors and crayons,” Bekem stated. 

Hernando School Superintendent, Dr. Lori Romano, in addressing the crowd stated, “By what you see this morning, we have amazing things happening for our children relating to the arts. Each of you [the art teachers] have a powerful and long term influence on your children. Whether they continue to study art as they go on their pathways, each of your children are better off because of you. You have served as a creative mentor. You have taught them to appreciate and honor their God-given talents.”

Superintendent Award Winners:

(3) Scott Florez, Grade 7, West Hernando Middle School
(9) Taylor Haywood, Grade 8, West Hernando Middle School
(15) Brant Davis, Grade 7, West Hernando Middle School
(17) Jessica Marline, Grade 11, Hernando High School
(28) Victoria Bork, Grade 8, Challenger K-8 – Community Award First Place for Middle School
(36) Mia Durkee, Grade 8, Hernando eSchool
(46) Kennedy Weissman, Grade 8, Hernando eSchool
(49) Grace Cox, Grade 7, Fox Chapel Middle
(51) Sarah Santiago, Grade 12, Weeki Wachee High 
(53) Grayce Foster, Grade 10, Central High
(60) Alexandra Del Toro Rios, Grade 9, Nature Coast Technical High 
(66) Caleb Schmutz, Grade 9, Springstead High
(75) Marianne Heaton, Grade 12, Weeki Wachee High
(84) Bekem Papa, Grade 2, Brooksville Elementary
(91) Juliana Flores, Grade 5, JD Floyd Elementary
(95)Rachel Sheppard, Grade 1,   JD Floyd Elementary
(104) Kamie Pond, Grade 2, Chocachatti Elementary
(107) Emily Loucks, Grade 4, Suncoast Elementary
(114) Cielo Tejeda, Grade 2, Challenger K-8
(115) Nadia Serrano, Grade 5, Challenger K-8
(118) Jamarius Waddy, Grade 12, Hernando High
(120) Laura Ramos, Grade 4, Suncoast Elementary

Community Award Winners:

Middle School
(28) Victoria Bork, Grade 8, Challenger K-8 – Community Award- First Place
(39)Angel Rodriguez Grade 8, West Hernando Middle – 2nd Place 
(44) Crystal Bumgardner, Grade 7, Winding Waters K-8- Middle 3rd Place

High School
(51) Sarah Santiago, Grade 12, Weeki Wachee High School- First Place
(118) Jamarius Waddy, Grade 12, Hernando High- Second Place
(58) Christian Valdeos, Grade 11, Weeki Wachee High School- Third Place

Elementary School
(86) Jamar Garrastegui, Grade 5, Westside Elementary- First Place
(110) Gunner Nelson, Grade 2, Winding Waters K-8- Second Place
(100) Luis Guzman, Grade 4, Eastside Elementary – Third Place

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