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GPA, Port of Shimizu honor budding artists at Isle of Hope

Students work on projects throughout the year that reflect maritime industry

Wednesday, June 12, 2019/Categories: Blog

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From left, Georgia Ports Market Research Analyst Lainey Sapp, Jaylin Allen, Jaiden Allen, Cole Rickard, Keira Whitehead, Ja’Laia Roberson and Marissa Green show off the winning submissions to an art contest coordinate by GPA and the Port of Shimizu. Isle of Hope Art teacher Magen Peigelbeck is in the back.


Students at the Isle of Hope School were honored recently for their award-winning submissions to an art contest coordinated by the Georgia Ports Authority and the Port of Shimizu, Japan.

For the past nine years, Isle of Hope students have entered themed art projects into the competition. In-school coordinator and art teacher Magen Peigelbeck said this year’s projects focused on Coastal Georgia and Japanese culture.

The winners, determined by a panel of GPA employees, each receive a certificate and a shippoyaki —a decorative Japanese enameled tile — provided by the Port of Shimizu. A similar contest is held each year in Shimizu for which the Port of Savannah provides certificates and kaleidoscopes. Six prizes from the Port of Shimizu were presented — one for the winner of each division.

This year’s winners are:

First Grade (Paper fiddler crabs): Cole Rickard

Fourth Grade (Sailboats): Ja’Laia Roberson

Fifth Grade (Clay crabs): Jaiden Allen

Sixth Grade (Tybee Island lighthouses): Jaylin Allen

Seventh Grade (Geisha paper dolls): Keira Whitehead

Eighth Grade (Seashell watercolor painting): Marissa Green 

Peigelbeck said the contest highlights the importance of Savannah’s port and maritime community as well as a global partnership with Japan.

She said loves this event because it really showcases how the arts and local community are connected. 

“I like to keep supporting and nurturing artists and watching their talent develop,” Peigelbeck said. “I’ve had the chance to watch my students grow into amazing little people.”

Peigelbeck’s graduating eighth-grader, Marissa Green, will continue to develop her artistic abilities at Savannah Arts Academy next year. Marissa’s seashell watercolor painting featured perfectly blended pastels and detailed shell designs. 

GPA Market Research Analyst Lainey Sapp, eighth-grade winner Marissa Green and Isle of Hope art teacher Magen Peigelbeck display her winning seashell painting.


Peigelbeck said the projects this year skewed toward Coastal Georgia influences, such as Tybee Island lighthouse replicas made from plastic cups that were illuminated by a flameless candle.

Each grade works on a separate project, incorporating special techniques to add texture and depth. This included the first-grade project that used a potato masher to achieve a unique design on the body of fiddler crabs.

The winning design sported a mischievous smile that was inspired by Cole Rikard’s favorite animated shows. Cole and his sister, Ruby, share a love of art, and work on many projects throughout the year.

For his clay crab, Jaiden Allen took time to make sure his project was presented in the best light. He chose to make his crab stand out by painting it blue because it was not only his favorite color, but also because the hue matched the water and tied in to the port.

Since Peigelbeck keeps the winners a surprise until the awards ceremony, with many of the budding artists confused as to why their parents are in the classroom.

GPA Market Research Analyst Lainey Sapp, seventh-grade winner Keira Whitehead and Isle of Hope art teacher Magen Peigelbeck display her winning paper Geisha doll.
When her class began learning about the Geisha culture, Keira Whitehead began thinking about how her design would play out.

“I chose blue and red mainly because of Wonder Woman,” Keira said. “She’s my favorite, and I thought those colors would work well in my design.”

Peigelbeck praised the school’s collaboration with GPA and the Port of Shimizu.

“I was proud to see my artists supported by their families during our reception,” Peigelbeck said. “It is so important in this day full of technology to keep a foot grounded in hands-on creating!”

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