Freshmen draw winning piece

Published 9:30 pm Saturday, March 17, 2018

Two Smithfield High School freshmen flexed their creativity to make state-level winning art that embraces diversity among communities.

Kailey King, 15, and Tanrah Wijnaldum, 15, designed the winning entry for the 2018 Youth Art Month flag contest held by the Virginia Art Education Association. Students across the state were tasked with drafting a design according to this year’s theme, “Building Communities Through Art.”

Smithfield High School freshmen Tanrah Wijnaldum, 15, and Kailey King, 15, designed the winning entry for Youth Art Month flag contest this March. (submitted photo)

Their design will be converted into a 3-by-5-foot flag by Festival Flag in Richmond and be on display at the National Art Education Association Convention in Seattle throughout YAM this March. It will then be put on display in the fall at VAEA Conference in Richmond.

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“It’s really cool to win after putting all that effort into it,” Kailey said.

Their art teacher, Jessica Jackman, said Smithfield High School had more than 60 submissions for this year’s competition. Students were tasked with forming a design that represented diversity and community while incorporating the YAM logo.

“I wanted it to have a colorful, water-like background, and [Kailey] wanted to have rainbow colors,” Tanrah said.

The two decided to feature Virginia’s state flower, the flowering dogwood. They had their design and were ready to put it on paper with colored pencils, watercolors and markers. But the image took three tries.

“The first time we made it, the hands were too big,” Tanrah said. “The second time, the watercolors didn’t work, so we used markers.”

There was also the matter of getting the YAM logo as pristine as possible.

“We thought it should look exactly right,” Tanrah said.