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Riverdale teen wins Farm Bureau award

Photo by Joel Hall
High School Senior Anthony Lee (left), of Riverdale holds up his logo design, which recently took first place in the Georgia Farm Bureau's 16th Annual Art Contest. Lee's mother, Costine Lee (center) and Clayton Farm Bureau President Paul Jones are also pictured.

Photo by Joel Hall High School Senior Anthony Lee (left), of Riverdale holds up his logo design, which recently took first place in the Georgia Farm Bureau's 16th Annual Art Contest. Lee's mother, Costine Lee (center) and Clayton Farm Bureau President Paul Jones are also pictured.

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Anthony Lee, 18, of Riverdale, is the first Clayton County resident to become a state winner in the annual Georgia Farm Bureau Art Contest.

Earlier this month, Lee's logo design for the Farm Bureau took the first-place, Third District award in the 16th annual art contest. According to Clayton Farm Bureau President Paul Jones, the Third District represents farm bureau offices in every county between the north and south ends of Interstate 285, and west of Interstate 75, to the Alabama border.

"At first, I did not know I was the first one to win [from the Third District]," Lee said. "It really made me feel honored to win for the first time and be the representative of my district. What I wanted them to take from it, is what we grow, and the hard work that goes into Georgia produce," the youngster said of his artwork.

Lee's creation for the Georgia Farm Bureau, a black-and-white pencil drawing, incorporates Georgia crop staples, such as cotton, peaches, and peanuts. He said it also employed a technique called "texture transfer," which involves bearing down on the paper over various substances, to illustrate different surfaces.

"I used a football to get the texture of the peanuts, sandpaper to get the texture of the dirt path, and regular wood to get the texture of the basket," Lee explained. "This was my first drawing that I did using this technique. I spent 11 hours doing the artwork," added Lee, who is a senior at the Jesus Christ Our Hope Academy in McDonough.

In his first artistic effort, Lee joined nine other district winners from high schools across the state in winning $75 each in prize money. Their drawings were entered into state-wide competition. The overall state winner this year, according to the Georgia Farm Bureau, was Grace Halverson, of Grovetown, Ga.

Farm Bureau chief Jones, said his agency, which advocates at the state level on behalf of Georgia growers, started the annual art contest as a way to encourage high school students to pursue careers in agriculture, and agricultural sciences. In the 16-year history of the contest, Jones said Lee represents the first Clayton resident ever to enter it, as well as the first to win at the state level.

"We're trying to keep young people focused on agriculture," Jones said. "Everybody thinks eggs come from the grocery store. I grew up in Clayton County ... There's not a lot of farming left. We have never, ever, since the contest began, had an applicant from this county. For this young man to win the whole [district] contest the first time out is amazing."

Lee's latest recognition comes on the heels of another major art victory. In March, Lee was recognized as the first-place winner of the 13th Congressional District Student Art Competition, sponsored by the office of U.S. Rep. David Scott.

For his talent, Lee won the honor of having his art displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., as well as a choice of a $6,000 scholarship ($1,500 a year) to the Savannah College of Art and Design, or a $10,000 scholarship to the Art Institute of Atlanta.