Edisto High School junior Hannah Fanning, 17, has loved art for a long time.
“I don’t know where it came from,” Fanning said. “I remember myself in kindergarten begging for more painting materials. Art and drawing have always been a passion.”
Her love propelled Fanning to submit an entry into the Paint A Good Word project.
Paint A Good Word is an art contest for children in grades K-12. Area children were asked to paint their interpretation of “good words,” including many of the Orangeburg County Community of Character traits as well words such as peace, joy, family, love, laugh and more.
The Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, which helped initiate the program, received 326 entries. Of those, 50 were selected and posted in windows of downtown merchants the first week in April. Some art is also displayed in vacant buildings. (Visit http://www.ocfac.net/ for a list of selected artists and locations.)
For her piece, Fanning chose the word “dance.”
“I chose it because when you dance, you move and it is all emotional,” Fanning said. “I move and put my emotions into my artwork.”
Fanning’s art is located in Orangeburg Furniture Exchange on Middleton Street. It consists of silhouettes of a man and woman dancing over the letters of the word dance.
About 18 schools are represented among the top 50.
Fifth-grade Holly Hill Elementary School student Cierra Randolph drew about the word “inspire.” The 11-year-old’s artwork is in Smoak’s Hardware on the 1100 block of Russell Street.
“My grandmother always tells me she wants me to inspire people,” Randolph said.
Randolph used colored pencils, markers, highlighters and a “little bit of crayon” to create her work over a five-day period.
Holly Hill fifth-grader Cumauri Boyd chose the word “freedom.” The 11-year-old’s artwork is displayed at the Chamber of Commerce office on Riverside Drive.
“In school I learned a lot about slavery and I started to think about slavery and how they got treated,” Boyd said. “I thought how the Civil War ended slavery and they then had their freedom.”
Boyd’s artwork shows a person’s hand wrapped with broken chains.
“I have been drawing for a long while,” Boyd said. “The thing I like most about drawing is showing everyone what you have accomplished.”
Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association Executive Director Jennifer Hoesing said merchants report that people are coming in to vote for their favorites.
“Part of the purpose of the program is to get more people downtown, and into businesses where they haven’t been in a while,” she said.
Orangeburg Furniture Exchange President Sandy Bryant said the program has been positive.
“We have had several people come in and sign up,” Bryant said.
When asked if the program has increased foot traffic in the store, Bryant said many people have come in strictly for the Paint a Good Word project.
But anything organizers can do to help is good, he said.
The Paint A Good Word project was created to showcase the talents of Orangeburg’s children and youth, Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center Executive Director Beth Thomas said. All the entries submitted will be on display at the center for the entire month of November.
“It is also to bring attention to the Fine Arts Center, DORA and the Chamber that really exist for the betterment of the community,” Thomas said. “it is about creating an awareness and getting children, teachers and parents involved in the same project.”
The Fine Arts Center, DORA, Chamber of Commerce, Community of Character, Orangeburg County Development Commission, city of Orangeburg and The Times and Democrat worked together on the project. Organizers also thanked Williamson Printing, Office Max Orangeburg, Emery Marketing, WORG-FM, Major Graphics and Sun Printing.
The public is asked to vote for their favorite in each grade category by visiting participating merchants. The winners in each category will receive a new iPad Mini 2. The categories are from kindergarten to 5th grade, 6th grade to 8th grade and 9th grade to 12th grade.
Ballots are available at all participating Paint A Good Word merchants. A complete list of the merchants and artists can be found on the Chamber of Commerce website at orangeburgchamber.com, DORA’s website at orangeburgdora.com and the Fine Arts Center website at ocfac.net.
To be counted, a ballot must include the voter’s name and contact information. A person may vote more than once but can only vote one time at each participating location.
The artwork will be on display through June 1 with the final vote occurring shortly after that date.