• Katie Brown reads “I Can Save the Earth” to Leah and Christina Davis, 3, and Oliver Osborne, 4, during the Roll & Read Event at Konehete Park in Murphy.
    Katie Brown reads “I Can Save the Earth” to Leah and Christina Davis, 3, and Oliver Osborne, 4, during the Roll & Read Event at Konehete Park in Murphy.

SCOUTING AROUND: Haiti inspires best at student art show

   One student stood out among the rest at the 2018 Spring Student Art Show presented by the Valley River Arts Guild. Erin Manuel, a sophomore at Tri-County Early College High School in Peachtree, submitted work in all three categories and won a prize for each piece, including Best in Show for her pastel art titled “Harmony.”
    All three of her pieces – including a photo that received a first-place ribbon and a three-dimensional clay sculpture that earned an honorable mention – were inspired by her trip to Haiti. When she was 7 years old, Manuel started fundraising and working to help people in Haiti, who were devastated by the earthquake in January 2010. She recently got to visit the country and shared memories of her visit through various works of art.
    “It’s nice to see other people like it, too,” she said of her awards.
    “I think my daughter’s awesome,” said Manuel’s mother, Janeen. “She has art in her heart.”
    High school students were able to enter one piece per category for the juried art show. Categories were painting, drawing and mixed media; three-dimensional works in any media; and photography, graphic arts and computer arts.
    Students in all four high schools participated, submitting a total 42 pieces of art. Dianne Gardner, who organized the show for the guild, said the work submitted by students this year was exceptional.
    “We didn’t have the quantity, but we did have the quality,” she said.
    The works were judged by Cherokee County Arts Council Director David Vowel, local potter Mike Lalone and John C. Campbell Folk School Director Jerry Jackson. First place in each category received $75, second place got $50 and third place got $35. Each category also had three honorable mentions with a prize of $15. The top prizes – Best in Show and the bonus prize to the art department with the most individual awards – were $100 each.
    Art teachers, like Dedra Davis of Andrews High School, appreciated the work the arts guild puts into the show for their students each year.
    “This is a top-notch show for the kids,” she said. “It’s a moral boost, gives them confidence and it inspires them.”
    Kinsley Gunter, a junior at Hiwassee Dam High School, won an honorable mention for her painting – even though she didn’t think she’d win anything at the show, and never had before for her art.
    “It makes me feel like I’m part of something,” she said. “It’s nice.”
    Other winners in the painting, drawing and mixed media category were Autumn Hardin of Andrews in first, Meraiah Hunsucker of Andrews in second, Emily Volkman of Murphy in third, and Juliana Aiken and Cade Ward of Andrews with honorable mentions.
    For three-dimensional works, Justin Bates of Murphy won first, Hardin took second, and Riley Lachance and Stephen Mercer of Murphy were third. Honorable mentions in addition to Manuel were Hunsucker and Leslie Ponce-Martinez of
    In the photography, graphic arts and computer arts category, Spring Rathbone of Murphy won second and Erish Cooper of Andrews won third to Manuel’s first-place photo of a young Haitian girl titled “Dreamer.” Honorable mentions were Ponce-Martinez, Emily Volkman of Murphy and Dawson Hensley of Murphy.
    Murphy High School’s art department won the bonus prize for the most awards.
    Visitors to the show, like James Keenum, were impressed with the students’ work. Keenum observed each piece and took an opportunity ask Volkman for interpretations of her drawing titled “Humanity.” He said they weren’t student artists, but artists.
    “It’s neat to see the work,” Keenum said. “I wish they had something like this when I was in high school.”
    The show will be on exhibit in the Cultural Calendar Room at the Murphy Art Center through Saturday.

Kids roll through story time
    Children got a special story time at Konehete Park on Saturday morning. The Region A Partnership for Children hosted its first Roll & Read Event in Cherokee County, where children could ride their bikes, scooters – anything with wheels – along the River Walk behind the ballfields to three stations, where they could listen to different parts of I Can Save the Earth by Alison Inches.
    “The main goal of the Roll & Read is to promote early literacy in our community,” said Katie Brown, parent educator for the Parents As Teachers Program through Region A. “I chose this book since the day after the Roll & Read is Earth Day.”
    Brown read the first third of the book, Anne Boring read the middle portion and Lindsey Pertet read the end of the book. Children sometimes raced to each station to park their wheels and crowd around the reader to hear, and see, what Max the little monster did next.
    Once they finished the book, children rolled to the loop, where they could pick up goodies from the Cherokee County Health Department and Blairsville Dentistry. Children also could make a bird feeder with help from the health department and learn about recycling from Region A. There also was information available about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and the partnership allowed each child to pick a free book to bring home.

Art program needs votes
    Hiwassee Dam High School is looking for the community’s support in the Vans Custom Culture contest. The school’s shoe designs made the top 50, and voting started this week to determine the top five, all of which receive donations to their art programs.
    The school was given two pairs of white shoes to decorate in two different themes – Local Flavor and Off the Wall. Students in Cristen Clonts’ second- and third-period Art II/III classes got to participate. She gave the second-period class the task of designing to the “Off the Wall” theme, while the third-period class had the “Local Flavor” theme.
    Students in the “Off the Wall” class created shoes that brought the insides out, including a brain with eyeballs attached on a colorful shoe. The “Local Flavor” class turned their shoes into a whitewater scene, with one shoe elevated on top of rocks so “water” could send rafters and tubers down to the other shoe.
    Both shoes are on display with the Student Art Show exhibit in the Cultural Calendar Room at the Murphy Art Center. Anyone may vote for Hiwassee Dam’s shoes at customculture.vans.com. Voting ends Friday, May 4.
    Public votes and company votes (which determined the top 50) are combined to determine the top five. The grand prize school will receive a $75,000 donation from Vans for the school’s art program as well as a visit from Vans for a lunch party. The four runner-up schools will get a $10,000 donation for the art program.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.