Lorain County Commissioners Honor Young Artists Showing Environmental Issues

Lorain County students whose works were chosen to be featured in the 2023 Lorain County Solid Waste Management District Calendar competition were honored at the June 29 meeting of Lorain County Commissioners.

The artists’ work was selected from 1,300 submissions, according to Brandi Schnell, community outreach coordinator for the county’s solid waste district.

The winners’ works will be featured in the calendar, which is distributed free of charge at the beginning of the year by the Solid Waste District as a marketing tool.

Each winner’s drawing will be featured during a particular month.

In addition, each winner received a check for $50.

The Lorain County Port Authority sponsored the cash prize.

Participants had to make a drawing or painting emphasizing the importance of recycling and protecting the environment.

Allysin Gudin, a fourth year student at Holy Trinity School in Avon, earned the calendar cover for her design which featured an image of the earth and the words ‘Stop Litttering’ in large bold letters.

Allysin included anthropomorphic drawings of a drop of water, sampling trees and a plastic cup with the words “reduce, reuse and recycle” underneath.

Commissioner Michelle Hung worked with Schnell to choose the 13 winners.

“It was tough, but we did it,” Schnell said.

Most of the winners attended the meeting and posed for a photo holding their winning entry with the curators.

The beaming parents were allowed to take photos for the family album or upload them to social media accounts.

Gabbrialla Smith’s pencil drawing of a tree was one of the winners.

Gabbrialla’s entry will be presented for the month of March.

Firelands High School Grade 12 drew one side of the tree with drooping branches covered in teal and yellow plastic grocery bags, while the branches on the other half of the tree were covered in green leaves and stretched towards the sky.

“One side was dark and the other blossomed skyward,” Gabbrialla said softly. “I wanted to do this because the environment is so important and recycling is such a big thing.”

Gabbrialla’s mother, Connie Smith, said all of her daughter’s artwork was “incredible”.

“It amazes me just to see her blossom and the feeling that comes from her painting,” said Connie Smith.

Gabbrialla works on her art for eight to 10 hours a week, according to her mother.

“She’s always doodled, from kindergarten, first grade,” Connie Smith said.

Gabbrialla, who wants to enter the medical field and is a member of the school’s color guard, said she would use the prize money to help pay for tires for her car.

Schnell said the contest goes beyond his tenure in the county, which began 17 years ago.

A similar contest earlier this year used to select a design for billboards around the county that promote neighborhood solid waste drew 800 entries, she said.

Students who entered the calendar contest had three to four weeks to produce their effort.

Scheduled in the spring, students are often on spring break for one of the weeks.

“The calendar is very popular,” Schnell said. “The first year we didn’t do it because of COVID.

“I got a lot of calls asking where are they, how can I get one. That’s how we realized how popular they were.