The Sandy Springs Arts Foundation has announced the winners of its Art in Place contest, which involved students at the city’s two public middle schools, where students had to shelter in place and take classes online since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The foundation is donating $5,000 to the two middle schools – Ridgeview Charter and Sandy Springs –to fund their most pressing art needs including software, microphones, instrument storage space, workbooks and supplies.

At Ridgeview, no winners were named, but three finalists were: seventh-graders Ellie Ryan, Lexie Rothman and Trey Daniels. At Sandy Springs Middle, the winners were eighth-graders Maralgua Davaadali (gold, violin) and Joanna Speck (silver, piano) and seventh-grader Marianna Villareal (bronze, voice). Three Sandy Springs Middle students also earned honorable mention status.

More than 380 students in total submitted a video describing their art product or performance and why the submission showcased both their feelings and use of their art in difficult times.

“The contest was run separately and concurrently at both schools,” a news release stated. “Samples of performances have been placed on the Facebook pages of both schools and the foundation to further engage the community. We hope it reminds us all of the importance of public/private partnerships. …

“The high response rate is a testament to how important the power of art is to students and reflects the effectiveness of the relationships between the children and their art teachers. Art and arts education are especially crucial during a child’s middle school years. In many cases, the eighth grade is a student’s last formal training in the arts. Consequently, we have to make art time COUNT.”

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