Photo by Johnny Jackson
Kemuel King won first place in the 2013 Clayton County Student Art Contest’s high school division. He named his charcoal portrait piece “Happy.” He is a junior in the Mount Zion Magnet Program.
JONESBORO — Kemuel King’s charcoal portrait captured a small boy — his mouth splayed open in a playful moment.
King, 16, said the artwork was inspired by a friend’s brother. He titled it “Happy.”
“It represents how kids can enjoy themselves and stay out of bad places,” he said.
The piece earned King the $300 prize in the 2013 Clayton County Student Art Contest’s high school division. He was among 23 student-artists recognized Thursday at the Clayton County Youth Development and Justice Center.
The contest is the first of its kind, said Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steve Teske. It was funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Teske said the center’s freshly-painted white walls are to credit for the competition.
“We dedicated the new building in September and we didn’t have any artwork on the walls,” he said.
Teske said he approached the school district’s fine arts director, Monika Wiley, and together they devised a plan to involve students in demonstrating their talents and showcasing them on the center’s bare walls.
Wiley and her staff came up with the contest theme, “What a Child Needs,” which theme matched well with the objectives of the sponsoring agencies — the Clayton County Youth Development and Justice Center and Clayton County Public Schools.
The shared vision, he said, is ultimately to give students a well-rounded education so that they become productive citizens.
Teske said engaging students in fine arts activities also allows them an outlet to express themselves in ways that won’t land them in the juvenile justice system.
He pointed to student artists recognized in the contest as positive manifestations of the alternative.
King is a junior in the Mount Zion Magnet Program and he plans to pursue a career in a field related to his lifelong passion.
“Drawing gives me an outlet for how I’m feeling,” he said. “I love to do it.”
Thursday’s winning pieces were judged by Teske, Wiley, Superintendent Luvenia Jackson, Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Turner and Rick Davidson, architect of the Youth Development and Justice Center.
2013 Clayton County Student Art Contest recognitions
Kemuel King of Mount Zion Magnet
Siyd Smith of Point South Middle
Bryan Saldana of Point South Middle
Joseph Gamble of West Clayton Elementary
Evelyn Trujillo-Carrera of Edmonds Elementary
Ashley Alabo of Mount Zion High
Joshua Kerbo of Kemp Elementary
Kearstin Russell of Point South Elementary
Christina Payan of Mount Zion High
Maria Kayla Crisp of North Clayton Middle
T’Naisha Cox of West Clayton Elementary
Kamari Wade of Jackson Elementary
Eva Acosta of Morrow High
Kathleen Johnston of Mount Zion High
Josie Mirr of R.T. Smith Elementary
M’Kala Johnson of Mount Zion Primary
Trinity Dailey of Kendrick Middle
Malachi Merritt of Kendrick Middle
Trel Greiner of Kendrick Middle
Kristal Quinonas of Kendrick Middle
Adonis Williams of West Clayton Elementary
Students of Lake City Elementary