Beginning in November, the Virginia Beach Education Foundation (VBEF) invited the public to cast its online vote for the foundation’s 2018 Commemorative Print. Each of the five options, artwork created by Virginia Beach City Public Schools employees, was on display Dec. 6 at the VBEF’s annual Teacher Grants Improve Futures (TGIF) Celebration where it also announced the winning piece.
Leigh Drake’s piece, titled “ If I Could Keep you Little,” was selected to be the featured artwork for the VBEF 2018 Commemorative Print. The Old Donation Center gifted visual arts teacher explained the story behind the painting that features a child fishing.
“I’m inspired every day by the community in which we live and the students that I teach. This piece was a culmination of both,” she said. “I’ve always loved the slow-paced sport of fishing. I remember fishing with my dad in Pennsylvania when I was young at a lake near our house. Living by the oceanfront now, I love seeing the thrill it brings to people both young and old when they catch something. Currently, teaching students in grades 3-5, I love that excitement and innocence of them. They aren’t too caught up yet with cell phones and the digital age of things. So through this piece I decided to remove technology and show the wonder the world has when we just take a moment and enjoy things, like fishing.”
Drake was at the TGIF Celebration Dec. 6 for the announcement.
“I was honestly shocked and thrilled at the same time hearing that I had won,” she said. “There were some very beautiful designs in the running and I wasn’t exactly sure which piece people would be drawn toward.”
The VBEF has selected a commemorative print every year since 1999. Proceeds from the sale of the prints benefit the foundation’s Adopt A+ Grants program, which will fund 71 grant projects this school year with a record $150,000 in grant funding.
Visit vbef.org to view or order VBEF commemorative prints from previous years. The 2018 Commemorative Print by Drake will be available to order soon. For more information, contact Debbie Griffey, VBEF coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-263-1069.
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