GPA, Port of Shimizu celebrate local art students


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Students at the Isle of Hope School were honored recently for their award-winning submissions to an art contest coordinated by the Georgia Ports Authority and the Port of Shimizu, Japan.

For the past eight years, Isle of Hope students have entered themed art projects into the competition. In-school coordinator and art teacher Magen Peigelbeck said this year’s projects focus on Japanese culture, marine life and the shipping industry.

The winners, determined by a panel of GPA employees, each receive a certificate and a shippoyaki —a decorative Japanese enameled tile — provided by the Port of Shimizu. A similar contest is held each year in Shimizu for which the Port of Savannah provides certificates and kaleidoscopes. Six prizes from the Port of Shimizu were awarded recently — one for the winner of each division.

Isle of Hope School art teacher Magen Peigelbeck celebrates with this year’s winners of an art contest coordinated by the Georgia Ports Authority and the Port of Shimizu, Japan. (Georgia Ports Authority)

This year’s winners are:

Kindergarten/First Grade (Mixed Media): John Gilmour

Third/Fourth Grade (Mixed Media paintings): Abbigale Akins

Fifth Grade (Silhouette paintings): MecKenzie Ingram

Sixth Grade (Line ocean paintings): Shawn Hurley

Seventh Grade (Japanese paper fans): Jade Brooks

Eighth Grade (Japanese dragon masks): Emily Nguyen

Peigelbeck said the contest highlights the importance of Savannah’s port and maritime community as well as a global partnership with Japan.

She said it gives her the opportunity to showcase students’ accomplishments, spanning all grade levels.

“I like to keep supporting and nurturing artists and watching their talent develop,” Peigelbeck said. “I’ve had the chance to watch my students grow into amazing little people.”

Peigelbeck’s students work on their contest entries throughout the school year, learning about Japanese culture and Savannah’s maritime community. Third/fourth-grade winner Abbigale Akins drew inspiration from nearby Tybee Island for her painting of a picturesque lighthouse scene.

Eighth-grade winner Emily Nguyen has been in Peigelbeck’s class since first grade and will soon enroll in the Savannah Arts Academy. Her winning entry was an intricate Japanese mask, accented with gold foil.

Since Peigelbeck keeps the winners a surprise until the awards ceremony, Emily said she didn’t anticipate winning, but was very excited when she found out.

Like Emily, other contest winners wondered why their relatives were arriving at school, and were relieved to learn they weren’t in trouble.

Jade Brooks’ older sister, Alyse Baker, said her face lit up when she realized her purple ombre Japanese paper fan won a prize. Jade said Peigelbeck demonstrated how to create artwork with ink wash painting — using traditional Japanese ink — which allowed her to incorporate plants and leaves into her design.

Fifth-grade winner Meckenzie Ingram embraced her creativity with a silhouette painting of a mermaid under the sea. Likewise, kindergarten/first-grade winner John Gilmour took an unconventional approach, recreating his favorite animal — a great white shark — out of newspaper, construction paper and googly eyes.

Already familiar with the maritime industry in Savannah, sixth-grade winner Shawn Hurley made sure to include a containership calling port in his line ocean painting.

“I wanted to illustrate different times of day, so I added stars on one side and the sun on the other,” Shawn said. “I also included a submarine, because I like them.”

Peigelbeck praised the school’s collaboration with GPA and the Port of Shimizu.

“The partnership with GPA is a great support to our arts program and we look forward to this contest every year. It fosters a wonderful international relationship and allows our students to learn about different cultures,” she said.