Brookelyn Bowen, a second-grader at Cohutta Elementary School, depicted her life during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the artwork earned her top prize in the North Georgia Electric Membership Corp.'s art contest.
"I was happy (to win) and surprised," Bowen said. "I like art, because it teaches you that you can become an artist."
Open to students in kindergarten through second grade, the contest's theme was “Power through the Pandemic,” and youth were asked to draw what they'd been doing during the pandemic.
Bowen combined four scenes — her and her brothers outdoors playing with their dog, a picnic, her and her mother gardening, and her swimming with her family in their pool — into one piece on the suggestion of her mother, said Bowen. "I thought (those four) would go good together."
Bowen's victory netted her a $50 Visa gift card, and "I already spent it," she said with a bashful smile a couple of weeks after winning the contest earlier this year. For herself, she purchased "clothes for my Barbie and accessories, a suitcase Barbie to go on trips, and a Chelsea (Barbie's younger sister) doll." She also bought toys for her two younger brothers, because "they would cry if I didn't get them something," she said. When she presented them with their gifts, "they ran and hugged me."
Bowen's triumph earned $200 for her class, which her teacher, Jennifer Brown, is using for a classroom art cart, "since we got (the funds) for an art project," Brown said. With an art cart, "I'll be able to do more spur-of-the-moment art, because the materials will be readily available, so I won't have to plan (projects) out well in advance."
In deciding on materials to purchase for the art cart, Brown wanted to avoid getting "things we already have," she said. "We have a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lab upstairs, so I'm trying not to duplicate (materials)."
"I try to incorporate art when I can, because you see a different side of students, a creative side, and I was very excited for (Bowen)," she said. "Art is important to me, because when I was young, my mom did art with me, and I want to share those experiences with these kids."
Even though she won first place, Bowen has learned that the heart in art is more important than any awards, she said.
"You don't need to worry if (someone) says your picture isn't good, because your (feelings are what matter)."