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Youth Art Contest

March 27 - April 30

The North Carolina Azalea Festival Youth Art Contest is an annual art contest showcasing the amazing artistic talents of the youth in our community. Each year over 300 area public, private, and home-schooled elementary, middle school, and high school students submit their artwork to the contest, illustrating the traditions of the North Carolina Azalea Festival that mean the most to them. The winning artists (and second and third place) in all divisions receive various notable prizes, and some schools are even treated to a visit from the Azalea Festival Official Artist.  Top place artists in each division will have their work showcased on the Azalea Festival website, and are invited to Raleigh to attend the Governor’s Press Conference with the Azalea Festival entourage.  The Top 15 entries in each division are exhibited during the Azalea Festival at the Community Arts Center in the Historic Hannah Block USO Building.  The Youth Art Gallery inside of the USO building will be on going from March, 27th @ 5pm until April, 30th 2020.  These artists also receive a complimentary ticket to the April Thalian Association Children’s Theatre (TACT) production.


2020 Winners

Grades K-2 Elementary Division Winner: Vivian Kinard
Vivian Kinard is the 1 st Place winner for the K-2 Elementary School
category with her iridescent painting of fireworks over the river, titled
“Bursting Fireworks.” She is a delightful 1 st grade student at Blair
Elementary School who loves fireworks because they are shiny! Art is
her favorite subject at school and, of course, she loves her art teacher,
Mrs. Saunders. She has a little sister and a mini golden doodle named
Murphy. In her spare time, she enjoys playing outside, jumping on her
trampoline, and taking gymnastics lessons.


Grades 3-5 Elementary Division Winner: Karl Geisler

Karl Geisler is the 1 st Place winner for the Grades 3-5 Elementary School
category for his bright and very colorful depiction of the famous Azalea
Festival parade, titled, “Azalea Parade by the River.” Karl is an equally
bright and colorful Wrightsville Beach Elementary School 3 rd grader. He
says his favorite things about the parade are the floats. His favorite
subjects in school are art and math. His hobbies include fencing,
playing the violin and cello, playing with his ferrets Oscar and Odette,
and working on art projects with his art-loving grandparents. Fun fact
about this guy is that he is a distant relative of Orville Wright!


Middle School Division Winner: Ellie Ko

Ellie Ko, a 7 th grader at Marvin Ridge Middle School in Waxhaw, NC is
the 1 st Place winner in the Middle School category. Her mixed media
colored-pencil watercolor painting catches a peek through the azalea
bushes of an elegant Azalea Belle overseeing a beautiful garden. Ellie
says that art is her favorite subject at school because she gets to pay
attention to her passion. In her spare time, she enjoys playing video
games with her siblings, learning to play tennis, playing the piano,
singing, and taking art private lessons. This is Ellie’s second time
entering the Azalea Festival Youth Art Contest.


High School Division Winner: Avery Aguila

Avery Aguila is the 1 st Place winner for the High School Art Contest
category, and is also a second-time Azalea Festival Art Contest
participant. She is an 11 th grade student at Eastern Alamance High
School in Mebane, NC. Her art entry, titled “Azalea Festival and All Her
Colors,” is a psychedelic colored-pen montage of the Azalea Queen
surrounded by the best that the Azalea Festival has to offer. Avery is a
Starbucks barista who loves art, hiking, volunteering with her high
school’s Environmental Club, and raising chickens. She was accepted
into the NC Governor’s School this summer for art and is applying to
UNC’s School of the Arts for her senior year to further refine her artistic


K-2 Elementary Division:

1st place-  Vivian Kinard, 1st Grade, Blair Elementary School

2nd place–  Nealie Ruttkay, 1st Grade, Bradley Creek Elementary School

3rd place-  Helena Watkins, 2nd grade, Wrightsville Beach Elementary School

HM- Nainika Takkallapelli, 2nd grade, Cedar Fork Elementary School

HM – Ichika Sakamoto, 2nd grade, College Park Elementary School


3-5 Elementary Division:

1st place-  Karl Geisler, 3rd Grade, Wrightsville Beach Elementary School

2nd place- Thet Khaing, 4th grade, Blair Elementary School

3rd place- Sophia Magne, 5th grade, Parsley Elementary School

HM- Marie Ko, 3rd grade, Marvin Elementary School

HM- Madison Mintegui, 5th grade, Bellamy Elementary School

HM- Isabella Granda, 5th grade, Eaton Elementary School


Middle School Division:

1st place-  Ellie Ko, 7th Grade, Marvin Ridge Middle School

2nd place- Shea Hoffhacker, 8th grade,  Roland-Grise

3rd place- Ellie Ko, 6th grade, Marvin Ridge Middle School

HM  Sky Gaerlan, 8th grade, Noble Middle School

HM  Eden Asher, 8th grade, Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences

HM  Barbara Grace Hunter, 8th grade, Wilmington Christian Academy


High School Division:

1st place- Avery Aguila, 11th Grade, Eastern Alamance High School

2nd place- Brooke Sanderford, 11th grade, Cape Fear Academy

3rd place-   Ava Whitt,  9th grade, Ardrey Kell High School

HM   Nicole Durham, 11th grade, Wilmington Christian Academy

HM   Anabel Sanchez, 11th grade, Career Readiness Academy at Mosley Performance Learning Center


Past Winners:

2018: Avni Choudepally, Cedar Fork Elementary ( K-2 Elementary School Winner )

2018: Julianna Dickerson, Blair Elementary ( 3-5 Elementary School Winner)

2018: Kate Spivey, Noble Middle School (Middle School Winner)

2018: Katherine Neilsen, Laney High School (High School Winner)

2017: Olivia Brown, Holly Tree Elementary (Elementary School Winner)

2017: Delilah Mills, Cape Fear Academy (Middle School Winner)

2016: Elajandra Torres, Carolina Beach Elementary (Elementary School Winner)

2016: Audrey Mase, Roland-Grise Middle School (Middle School Winner)

2015: Becky Girolami, Parsley Elementary (Elementary School Winner)

2015: Max Brinker, Cape Fear Center For Inquiry (Middle School Winner)

2014: Ruthie Wainwright, Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences (Elementary School Winner)

2014: Sylvia Atwood, Cape Fear Academy (Middle School Winner)

2013: Margaret Dill, Cape Fear Academy (Elementary School Winner)

2013: Maddie Porter, Cape Fear Academy (Middle School Winner)

2012: Cameron Holmes, Bellamy Elementary

2011: Lemir Moore, Snipes Academy of Art and Design

2010: Katie Girolami, Cape Fear Academy


March 27
April 30
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