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DaVinci students earn statewide honors for their art
DaVinci Academy students Astrid Ruiz-Torres, left, and Erin Thomas with Astrid’s mixed media artwork. Astrid and Erin have won top statewide honors for their artwork. - photo by Tom Reed

While you should take the time to stop and smell the roses, you may not want to get too close to Erin Thomas’ dandelion.

Although her “Dandelion of the 22nd Century” looks just like every other dandelion that you’ve seen, it still manages to be unlike anything else you’ve encountered.

“I used screws and things to make the flower, plastic for the grass and wood for the soil,” said Erin, 14.

“We had to do a folk art project and I knew I wanted it to be something industrial, but a robot seemed kind of cliche. Then the idea just came to me. I thought, ‘What if I do a futuristic dandelion.’”

Her efforts to bring her vision to life must have been pretty effective. She was selected as one of 20 statewide winners in the Rivers of Words Art Competition. Her high-tech flower will move on to the national level of the competition in upcoming weeks.

Erin isn’t the only art student that has won top honors in a statewide competition.

Astrid Ruiz-Torres’ “Patterned Mars Rover” project earned a first-place ribbon in the Georgia Kiwanis Art and Music Showcase. For her project, Astrid incorporated a number of materials including Styrofoam, foil and cardboard.

“We had to do a project that incorporated outer space and (elements and principles of art). I searched on Google for ideas and saw the (original) Mars Rover,” said Astrid, 12.

“I decided to do that, but I went crazy with the patterns and colors.”

Eight other Da Vinci Academy students picked up honors in the local level of the Kiwanis art and music competition. Noah Miratsky, Katie Hooper and Rachel Cottrell all earned second-place ribbons. Ali Behiry and Peter Adams took third-place prizes and Seth Lisboa, Jordan Bachman and Jayne McFarland earned honorable mentions.

Da Vinci art instructor Lyndrid Patterson says she’s not surprised by how well her students are doing.

“We’ve entered five competitions this year and the students have won prizes each time. They’ve really done wonderfully this year,” Patterson said.

“I’m not surprised because these are amazing students. They’re all very talented. Sometimes you just have to scratch at the surface a little to uncover their gifts.”

It’s not just the art students who are encouraged to explore their individual talents. All of the students are given the opportunity to work on independent projects related to their own interests and to create exhibits for the school’s “Museum of Inspired Learning.”

Astrid says the school’s focus on independent learning helped spark her interest in the arts.

“I enjoy going to school here,” Astrid said.

“Kids get to be very creative here and that’s what I like about it.”