Student artwork wins Bradenton Area River Regatta contest

Bradenton Area River Regatta returns to Manatee River on Feb. 6

As the area prepares for the 2016 Bradenton Area River Regatta, take a look back at the 2015 festivities.
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As the area prepares for the 2016 Bradenton Area River Regatta, take a look back at the 2015 festivities.

BRADENTON -- In 2017, Andrew Naraine's artwork will be featured on all the Formula 2 powerboats racing in the Bradenton Area River Regatta.

Modest and shy, Andrew said he didn't attend the inaugural event, but knew boats and fireworks were two of the biggest draws. Using colored pencils, Andrew incorporated those two themes into his decal. His attention to details and colorful artwork impressed the judges enough for him to bring home the top prize in the Bradenton Herald/ River Regatta coloring and design contest.

"I didn't think this would win at all," said Andrew, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Lee Middle School.

Miranda Daly, an 8-year-old third-grader at Mills Elementary School, and Karla Cruz, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Lee, won in the coloring contest categories.

Saturday marks the second year of the regatta, which includes powerboat racing, live music, food and other family and friends events on both the Bradenton and Palmetto sides of the river. The Green Bridge is closed for the day, to allow attendees a better view. This is the first year of the coloring and design contest, and about 150 students from across the county entered.

All three winners and their families will enjoy Saturday's events up close to the action with an official family fun pack, four VIP passes each to Firkins Front Row to the Fireworks at Palmetto Riverhouse Reef and Grill.

The two coloring winners will have their artwork framed, and also won a complimentary weeklong trip to the Art Center's Emerging Artists Summer Camp.

Andrew also received a gift certificate to Art Center Manatee.

Both Karla and Miranda said they are most excited about their emerging artists summer camp.

"I was very happy," Karla said, whose colored pencil piece impressed the judges.

Miranda integrated more than one method to finish her artwork, using colored pencils, crayons and bright white puffy paint to add textured clouds into the drawing.

"It inspires me," Miranda said. "It makes me want to do more and more."

The original artwork that children used in the coloring contest was created by Darwin Leon, a Cuba native whose family fled to Spain and then the United States.

Leon is working on his master's degree in art education from the University of Florida. He earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the Miami International University of Art Design in 2005. Leon served as one of six judges for the contest.

The contest was sponsored by Bright House, ArtCenter Manatee, Bradenton Area River Regatta, Firkins Automotive and the Herald.

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.

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