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Pinellas County students express through art contest, drawing on social justice and political events

Equality drawing
Posted at 6:23 PM, May 18, 2021

CLEARWATER, Fla.— — Students in Pinellas County got to show off their creative side with their artwork now hanging at the old Clearwater Courthouse. Some students even drew inspiration from recent political events and social justice movements.

“I would want them to know that it’s about peace and kindness,” said 10-year-old Ariella Wagan about her art.

Wagan is a fourth-grade student at Tarpon Springs Elementary School. She is one of the dozens of students who submitted artwork to the Clearwater Bar Foundation’s annual law day poster contest.

“I drew flags, one in the middle and then two on the side, and then I drew like fire to make it look awesome,” said Wagan.

Tarpon Springs Elementary fourth-grader Mikensie Jones explained she saw the social justice movements over the last year and wanted to include Black Lives Matter in her drawing.

“She had like a flag in her hand, like Black Lives Matter and like community and stuff, like working together,” said Jones.

“We had a very hyper-contentious presidential election, and we also had some unfortunate racial tension in this country, and a lot of those issues seem to transcend into the artwork that the students provided,” said Thanasi Poulakidas, who is on the Clearwater Bar Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Students from Tarpon Springs and Sunset Hills Elementary Schools drew inspiration from the contest’s theme of advancing the rule of law in 2021 and promoting access and equality. Poulakidas says they received roughly 100 submissions.

“It means they’re thinking, and if we can get them thinking about the judicial system, I think they’ll be more open to learning how the judicial system works and how it’s only as good as how accessible it is to the community,” said Kris Parker, the Clearwater Bar Foundation’s president.

The artwork will be on display for about a week at the Clearwater Courthouse on Court Street. Three winners from each grade will be chosen later this week.