CANTON, GA (March 20, 2024) – The community gathered Friday night at the L.B. Ahrens Recreation Center to kick off the Cherokee County Commissioners Inaugural Art Competition.

Several of the 11 high school students who entered their artwork were present at the event, along with representation from event sponsors.

Diana Ruslin, a local resident and member of the Rotary Club of Towne Lake, connected with Chairman Harry Johnston and District 4 Commissioner Corey Ragsdale about implementing an art competition for Cherokee County’s youth. Soon after, Cherokee County, the Cherokee County School District, the Rotary Club of Towne Lake, and Friends of the Libraries partnered to make the vision a reality.

“Art is an important aspect of community, and creating a variety of opportunities for students to work their craft and show their talent has many benefits,” Ruslin said, adding she felt the Rotary Club she was a member of was an “obvious organization to partner with. “The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the idea of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.”

Student artwork will be on display for public viewing and voting through March 26 at the R.T. Jones Library Community Room for viewing.

Community Services Agency Director Bryan Reynolds served as the county’s representative in planning the event and said he hopes people will take some time to visit the Community Room at the R.T. Jones Library in Canton, view the students’ artwork and cast their vote.

“It was a pleasure meeting some of the students who created art specifically for this competition. The pieces are beautiful and represent their individual style,” Reynolds said. “We appreciate the Sequoyah Regional Library System and Friends of the Libraries’ support and use of their facility to display this work. I encourage the public to view the artwork on display at the library and support these young artists.”

Jennifer Jones, Administrator on Special Assignment, Humanities and Fine Arts for CCSD, envisions the program growing and being incorporated with art teachers’ lesson plans to engrain community programming with art education.

“We are honored to be partnering with the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners and the Sequoyah Regional Library System to host the first-ever art competition in Cherokee County,” Jones said. “The impact of art stems from the interaction with the art pieces; therefore, I am consistently advocating for more opportunities for Fine Arts students to show their artwork beyond the classroom walls, and this art competition is a fantastic way for the community to see how much talent we have in our CCSD Art programs.”

Artists are competing for up to $500 in scholarships. Judges include Sheriff Frank Reynolds, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree; Katie Caldwell, president of the Woodstock Arts Board of Directors; Harmony Reid, Visual Art Education Manager for Woodstock Arts; and Nicole Lampl, director/curator of the Reeves House Visual Arts Center in Woodstock.

Additionally, members of the community will be able to cast their vote for the “Cherokee Choice” award winner.

Artists were able to create their original work using any medium of their choosing. The theme for the 2024 competition is “Rivers of Cherokee County.”


Kayla Brown | Etowah HS | “Self Portrait on Cardboard” | Charcoal

Linley Lowe | Woodstock HS | “Autumn Rivers” | Acrylic and Oil Pastels

Rebecca Edison | Woodstock HS | “View of Etowah” | Oil Paints

Elisa Williams-Morales | Woodstock HS | “Twilight” | Coffee Painting and Acrylic

Dina Becovic | Cherokee HS | “What We Eat” | Acrylic and Tempura Paint

Reagan Kadlub | Etowah HS | “Dragonfly” | Oil Paint

Lukas Parrado | Woodstock HS | “Luis River” | Graphite and Colored Pencils

Addison Daniel | Woodstock HS | “Untitled” | Nail Art Supplies

Kate Rowell | Etowah HS | “Silent Visitor” | Oil Paint and Gold Leaf

Sophia Wadsworth | Etowah HS | “Great Blue Heron Over The Lake” | Oil Paint and Gold Leaf

Megan Torres | Etowah HS | “Longnose Gar” | Watercolor and Ink

Winners will be announced in April at Cherokee County Board of Commissioners and Cherokee County Board of Education meetings.

Art can be viewed seven days a week from 3-6 p.m. at the R.T. Jones Library Community Room, 116 Brown Industrial Pkwy., Canton.




You May Also Like…

Enjoy Cherokee Art Contest 2024

Etowah Eagle Spreads Her Wings

Movers & Makers: The Women Shaping Art in Cherokee County

Senior Services partner with local HOSA clubs to host Senior Prom event

Local Artists Exhibit Opening Friday, March 15