Student turns hobby into contest win

Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 5/2/18

ORANGE PARK – An Orange Park High School Junior’s hobby earned her a scholarship she can use at any college.

For 31 years, Concert on the Green has been helping Clay County students turn …

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Student turns hobby into contest win

Posted

ORANGE PARK – An Orange Park High School Junior’s hobby earned her a scholarship she can use at any college.

For 31 years, Concert on the Green has been helping Clay County students turn their passion of music or art into something more. For some, that means having a place to perform their solo pieces and earn $1,000 in scholarship money while doing so. For others, it means giving them a public place to professionally display their art and for LeAnn Hilliard, the nonprofit does just that.

“It’s just so awesome that my poster is here on display for anyone to see,” said Hilliard, winner of the 2018 Concert on the Green Poster Contest.

Just as it’s done since shortly after its founding, the organization held a poster concert to give local students a chance to design the poster the nonprofit will use to advertise its annual Concert on the Green. Not only will the winning poster be displayed in the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts gallery, which is where Hilliard’s poster is currently hanging, but it will also be used for all official information pamphlets. Hilliard’s poster hangs alongside 44 other runners-up – the 45 posters were the ones selected by the judges out of the 148 entries.

Hilliard’s poster would be quite hard to miss too and not because of its position in the gallery. Featuring a colorful clarinet – an instrument she used to play – surrounded by contrasting explosions of color and a stream of musical notes from the Overture of 1812, which is played each and every year at the annual outdoor concert, Hilliard’s poster truly pops.

“My teacher told us it didn’t have to be realistic and I just sort of ran with that,” Hilliard said, while describing how her poster came to be. “Beyond the design, I really tried to use complimentary colors everywhere because that always contrast so well.”

Because her poster won, Hilliard will be receiving a $500 scholarship that she can use towards majoring in art or any other discipline of her choice, which is great for Hilliard because despite her love of art, she intends to keep it as just a hobby.

“You don’t want to do a hobby as a job because then you’ll start to dislike it because it becomes what you have to do, not what you want to do,” Hilliard said.

According to Hilliard, she didn’t think she would win and that’s due to the numerous other posters her piece is surrounded by in the Thrasher-Horne gallery.

“There are so many other ones that could have one this,” Hilliard said, pointing to a poster her friend designed. “It means the world to me, though, that I did win. There are so many great pieces and I’m really happy to have my piece in here with them.”

While one of the key pieces of the poster is how it displays the information for the upcoming concert on May 27, there were a number of things the judges were looking for, according to Carron Wedlund, poster contest chairman for Concert on the Green.

“We were looking at the art techniques used, the materials, the poster effectiveness and elements of design and I think [Hilliard’s] achieved success in all of that,” Wedlund said.

Wedlund’s stretch of roots in the Clay County art community doesn’t end with Concert on the Green. She’s been in the Art Guild of Orange Park for over 10 years.

“I’m so honored to be [the chairman] of Concert on the Green,” Wedlund said. “Art is just so important to this area, and to any community really, and that’s why things like [Concert on the Green] and the Art Guild of Orange Park exist. We are all working to keep art in Clay County.”

“Clay County has come a long way, too,” Wedlund said. “For a while there, art seemed to lose its place in schools but now, more and more art teachers are being added.”

Concert on the Green President Lauren Hoffman chimed in to further explain Clay County’s art evolution. She said art and music promote the greatness within our community. With that comes more exposure. With more exposure comes more growth. With more growth comes more events like Concert on the Green, which raises money that is then put back into the community. That money helps promote more greatness in the artistic community of Clay County and the circle continues.

“As long as this circle continues, Clay County’s artistic and musical students are in good hands,” Hoffman said.

The scholarship Hilliard received was paid for by funds raised by donors, fundraisers and events over the past year and, according to Hoffman, it’s always been this way.

“I think the most important part of our organization, besides the students, is the people that keep us going,” Hoffman said. “We are a grassroots movement of people who want to support art and music in our community. None of our staff is paid. We are here for the kids.”

The gallery will host the posters at the Thrasher-Horne Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday thru Friday, until May 11, where the gallery will be closed on Friday. The gallery will continue displaying posters until May 24. This year’s Concert on the Green will take place May 27 at St. Johns Country Day School.

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