WILMINGTON, N.C., March 9, 2016—The 2016 North Carolina Azalea Festival Children’s Art Contest has been judged and winners selected from almost 900 entries submitted from 26 public, private, charter, and home elementary and middle schools as well as one afterschool art program. Entries were received from individuals and schools in New Hanover and Pender Counties.
The first place entry for the Elementary School category, titled “Southern Girls,” is a vibrant sunset-inspired watercolor and color-pencil 3-D piece drawn by Elajandra Torres, a 4th grade student at Carolina Beach Elementary School in Wilmington, North Carolina. Ela is a vivacious 9-year-old who emphatically states that Art is her favorite subject in school, even though she only gets to have art class once per week. She loves working individually and in groups with her art teacher Melony Connor. When not in school, Ela enjoys playing soccer, and, of course, drawing. She keeps an art journal with her at all times, often making notes and planning for her next creation, and is always prepared to capture on paper interesting things she sees. Her favorite artist is Tatyana Vogt, aka Avo, a professional illustrator and YouTuber that makes fun, silly, sassy and cute drawings. Her love of creating art motivates her to save her spare change for special markers and other art supplies. When asked from where the inspiration for her art contest entry came, Ela answered, “From the beautiful Wilmington sunsets and from the beautiful belles and azaleas seen here in the springtime.”
The first place entry for the Middle School category, titled, “In Bloom,” is an exquisite watercolor depiction of a Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Belle stationed in her garden of azaleas. The winning artist is multi-talented 7th grader Audrey Mase from Roland-Grise Middle School, also in Wilmington, North Carolina. Audrey enjoys studying Science in school because it is so complex and diverse. She is a member of the Roland-Grise Band, and one of its spin-off ensembles, Trash Can Therapy, where the percussionists make music on trash cans and lids. In her spare time, Audrey enjoys sewing and creating costumes with her girlfriends. She also enjoys playing with her two dogs, Elsa and Small Dog. When asked what inspired her art work, she replied, “I love the similarities between the beautiful azalea blossoms and the dresses and parasols of the beautiful azalea belles.”
The 2016 North Carolina Azalea Festival Children’s Art Contest, now in its seventh year, was kicked off in October 2015 with an invitation to all area elementary and middle school age children to participate. With the prompt, “Which traditions of the North Carolina Azalea Festival mean the most to you?” students in grades Kindergarten thru 8 had until January 15, 2016 to illustrate their creativity and submit their artwork. Contest co-chairpersons Stephanie Kraybill and Miss Greater Wilmington 2010 Brooklyne Williamson assisted the contest judging panel, which included the 2016 North Carolina Azalea Festival Official Artist Mary Ellen Golden, and were amazed and inspired by the incredible talent they saw in the youth artwork.
A summary of winners for the 2016 North Carolina Azalea Festival Children’s Art contest is as follows:
Elementary School Division
|1st place||Elajandra Torres||4th grade||Carolina Beach Elementary|
|2nd place||Marjorie Garcia Velasquez||2nd grade||Mary C. Williams Elementary|
|3rd place||Marea Bradley||4th grade||Carolina Beach Elementary|
|Honorable Mention||Caroline Maxfield||5th grade||New Horizons|
|Honorable Mention||Aiyanna Age||3rd grade||Rachel Freeman School of Engineering|
Middle School Division
|1st place||Audrey Mase||7th grade||Roland-Grise|
|2nd place||Brooke Sanderford||8th grade||Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences|
|3rd place||Symaji Rainey||7th grade||DC Virgo Preparatory Academy|
1st place wins a $100 gift certificate from Learning Express Toy Store for the elementary category and a $100 iTunes gift card for the middle school category, a print of the 2016 official artwork, and an assortment of Azalea Festival souvenirs. The winners will attend the Governor’s Press Conference in Raleigh to present copies of their artwork.2nd place wins a $50 gift certificate from Learning Express Toy Store for the elementary category and a $50 iTunes gift card for the middle school category, a print of the 2016 official artwork, and an assortment of Azalea Festival souvenirs.3rd place wins a $25 Learning Express gift certificate for the elementary category and a $25 iTunes gift card for the middle school category, a print of the 2016 official artwork, and an assortment of Azalea Festival souvenirs.Honorable Mention artists receive a $10 Learning Express gift certificate, a print of the 2016 official artwork, and an assortment of Azalea Festival souvenirs.All of these artists will ride in the 2016 North Carolina Azalea Festival Parade.All of their artwork, along with the Children’s Art Contest “Top 50”, will be displayed in the Community Gallery at the Community Arts Center in the Historic Hannah Block USO building throughout the month of April. All artists will receive a complimentary ticket to the TACT production, “A Secret Garden,” opening on April 28, 2016.
About the North Carolina Azalea Festival
Since its inception in 1948, the North Carolina Azalea Festival has blossomed into an extended weekend celebration that attracts more than 300,000 people and generates more than $51 million for the local economy. The Festival showcases our community’s rich array of artwork, gardens, history and culture through recreational, educational and family-oriented events.
The North Carolina Azalea Festival Thanks Its Sponsors
Hilton Wilmington Riverside
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
BB & T
BlueCross and BlueShield of NC
Coastal Carolina Neonatology/Coastal Children’s Services
Live Oak Bank
MassMutual Financial Group
North Carolina Ports
Parkway of Wilmington
SEPI Engineering & Construction