Local students win calendar art contest


Two Jackson County students will have their artwork featured in the 2021 Cooperative Calendar of Student Art.

Winning first place were SaRai Fontanez in the fourth grade division and Harley Koons in the fourth grade division. Both girls live in Seymour.

Besides having their artwork featured in the calendar, they will each receive $200.

Indiana Connection and participating Indiana electric cooperatives have conducted an annual art contest for Indiana students in grades kindergarten through 12 since 1998.

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Fontanez, 10, is the daughter of David and Rachel Fontanez and attends Margaret R. Brown Elementary School.

“I’ve entered a contest before but didn’t win,” she said. “I had fun doing the project, though, and just wanted to try it again to see what would happen.”

Fourth-graders who entered the contest were drawing art for the month of May in the 2021 calendar.

“It was around Eastertime, and her class was studying the solar system, so she combined the two by drawing a tree with egg-shaped planets around it,” Rachel Fontanez said.

SaRai has been taking art classes from Kay Fox for about two years and has learned a lot of things that helped her to create her winning entry.

“I’ve learned about shading with colored pencils and blending colors together,” SaRai said. “My drawing was done with colored pencils and then a marker for outlining.”

SaRai said for now, she will probably save the money she won from the contest.

“I think art is important because she can express herself, and it’s something she has always loved doing,” Rachel said. “When some kids would be coloring, not her. She would be drawing.”

Koons, 12, is the daughter of Kevin and Erin Koons and attends the Seymour Middle School Sixth Grade Center.

Koons said she was really surprised when she found out she had won first place in the contest.

“I was drawing for the month of July in the calendar contest,” Harley said. “I like this certain kind of truck, and so it has the truck driving through a covered bridge, and I used watercolors.”

Harley chose watercolor as her medium because it doesn’t have to be perfect and can be a little messy. She used one-point perspective that she learned from Fox’s art classes, she said.

“I’ve taken art lessons from her for four years, and when I was drawing the trees, I really didn’t want to draw the leaves,” Harley said. “She taught me easy ways to draw leaves, and now, I love drawing them.”

The calendar contest winners were announced in the July issue of Indiana Connection magazine and will be featured again in the November issue.

The winning works from each grade are then used to illustrate the Cooperative Calendar of Student Art, which is localized by the participating cooperatives to provide important information to consumers.

Honorable mention winners, each receiving $75, includes Victoria White of Medora, second grade division; David White of Medora, fourth grade division; Alessandra Dominguez Javier of Seymour, seventh grade division; and Heidi Kreutz of Seymour, eighth grade division.

All first place and honorable mention pieces will be part of the annual Hoosier Salon Art Exhibition from Aug. 29 to Oct. 25 at the Indiana State Museum.

Emily Schilling, editor of Indiana Connection, said there were more than 2,200 entries in the contest.

Indiana Connection editors have administered and served on the contest’s judging panel for the past 23 years.

The contest was judged on the following criteria: Artistic merit, originality, creativity, how well the assigned month is depicted and suitability for a wall calendar.

Fox said 10 of her art students entered the contest, and she supplied all of the materials needed.

“They all worked on their entries here in the studio and then I filled out the paperwork and sent them in together,” Fox said. “I told them not everybody will be a winner and that’s OK, so then we go on and do another one.”

Fox is proud of all of her students’ work and said when she found out Harley and SaRai had won first place, she did a happy dance.

She has been teaching art for around 25 years and was a member of Southern Indiana Center for the Arts for several years and now has a studio at The Herbal Alternative.

“I teach all the mediums, like oils, acrylic, watercolors, and I also teach drawing and how to draw the human form and more,” Fox said. “We like to venture into new things, too, like fluid or liquid art.”

Fox teaches classes for all ages and believes art is overall good for a variety of things, like motor skills, thinking, creativity and expression.

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For information on how students can enter the 2022 Cooperative Calendar of Student Art contest, visit indianaconnection.org/for-youth/art-contest.

Kay Fox offers private and group lessons at The Herbal Alternative, 2015 N. Ewing St., Seymour. To make an appointment or set up a class or activity, contact Fox at 812-216-6309 or [email protected].


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