Visit enough area art shows, you will eventually find artists inspired by the beauty and vitality of Lanier County’s Banks Lake.
With trees rising from its waters, with resplendent wildlife, and a unique horizon line, Banks Lake has attracted as many artists — painters, photographers, even videotaped dancers — as it has fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts through the years.
So, it seemed like the perfect setting for a children’s art contest.
Hundreds of Lanier County Primary School kindergartners through second-graders and Lanier County Elementary School third- through fifth-graders submitted works to the Banks Lake Youth Fishing Derby Art Contest sponsored by the Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The children are taught by Lanier art teacher Cindy Lyons.
Harvey’s Supermarket in Lakeland donated grocery bags to serve as the youngsters’ canvases. Entries that were not selected as winners were returned to Harvey’s where store customers receive their groceries in these bags decorated with home-grown art.
Winning entries have been on display through last week at the Lakeland McDonald’s. Starting last Sunday and running through May 20, the winning entries are exhibited at Harvey’s. On Saturday, May 11, the winners received awards at the Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
The works were judged by Carol Moore, Irwin County High School literature and composition teacher and artist; Nancy Pafford, retired teacher and author; and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge employees Gracie Gooch, volunteer coordinator, Susie Heisey, supervisory refuge ranger, and Cindy McIntyre, refuge ranger and artist.
Kindergarten: First place, Andrew Gibbs; second place, Riannon Aldous; third place, Cameron Gazboda.
First grade: First place, Caydin Gaddis; second place, Quinn Johnson; third place, Aliyah Breanne Bennett.
Second grade: First place, Deniel Geronimo; second place, Cekyria Hodges; third place, Emily Ann Livingston.
Third grade: First place, Ethan Moore; second place, Keitlyn Reinberg; third place, Lillie Lyons.
Fourth grade: First place, Kayden Parker Everett; second place, Sara Livingston; third place, Ashton Abbott; honorable mentions, Savannah Creamer, Jonah Chadwick.
Fifth grade: First place, Morgan Land; second place, Kalab Waters; third place, Hannah Brooke Register.