Christmas trees were everywhere. There were snowmen, reindeer, Santas left and right. There was even a lonely cat sitting in the snow. The spirit of the holidays was plentiful as more than 1,000 pieces of art from children around Central Florida were gathered in one place for the Orlando Sentinel Holiday Art Contest.
Five art teachers from area schools volunteered their time to determine this year's winners.
"The hardest thing for me about judging the contest was deciding which direction we were going -- what type of art would be our top winner," said Nichole Bromme, art teacher for Orlando Junior Academy. "There were a lot of technically excellent entries. I think we were all drawn to artwork that had a lot of movement and a unique perspective."
Bromme was joined by Agar Quinones of Lake Sybelia Elementary School in Maitland, Mary Perkins of Fern Creek Elementatry School in Orlando, Kimberly Santana of Pineloch Elementary School in Orlando and Laura Anderson of Lakemont Elementary School in Winter Park.
The quintet took on the task of finding winners in three categories: kindergarten and first grade; second and third grade; fourth and fifth grade. Each group had a Grand Prize winner, four Merit Awards, 10 Honorable Mentions and 20 Certificate of Appreciation winners.
In the K-1st grade group, the grand prize went to 6-year-old Jamanie Joseph, a first grader at Pine Castle Christian Academy who used colored pen to draw a sleeping baby in a manger.
"Amazing in its use of color and design," said Perkins. "The central character is the baby Jesus surrounded by glowing bubbles of primary and secondary colors conveying joy and peace at the same time. The meaning of the season is definitely the theme. I loved its simplicity and strength."
"What a colorful and creative way to move you to the clarity of one's reason for the season," added Bromme.
The 2nd-3rd grade grand prize went to 8-year-old Claire Brown, a second grader at Orangewood Christian School in Maitland whose piece featured several traditional holiday images patched together in a frenzy of color and pattern.
"I really thought that the details were the most impressive," said Santana. "The use of color and line is what drew me to this piece."
The color also impressed Perkins, who said, "It reminds me of a crazy holiday patchwork quilt that brings happiness with its wonderful sense of colors and rhythm. It brings to mind the rush and joy of the holiday season all meshed into one swirling design."
The 4th-5th grade grand prize went to 10-year-old Mikkylah Moore, a fifth grader at Lake Orienta Elementary School in Altamonte Springs who created a snowman with oil pastels.
"The oldest winner's work was simply beautiful," said Santana. "I was impressed with the shading detail and the use of color. The medium of chalk made for a striking finished product."
"Moore's snowman is fabulous," Perkins said. "The perspective of the colorful snowman grinning down at us is just wonderful. It makes me feel happy and like a child again. There is a 'Matisse' sense of color about the picture and the blending of the colors is done beautifully."
All winners received certificates for their achievement. Also, the grand prize, merit award and honorable mention winners can be seen at the
through Dec. 31. The museum is located at 900 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803.
Grand Prize: Jamanie Joseph, First Grade, Pine Castle Christian Academy
Merit Award: Beatrice Frazer, First Grade, The Geneva School
Palmer Hendrix, First Grade, The Geneva School
Danielle Nowik, First Grade, Dr. Phillips Elementary School
Mariana R. Salek, Kindergarten, St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School
Honorable Mention: Giovanni C. Gonzalez, Kindergarten, St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School
Nardine Magdy, Kindergarten, St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School
Elle Hage, Kindergarten, St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School
Isaac Incinelli, First Grade, The Geneva School
Rachel Seneff, First Grade, The Geneva School
Camden Moore, First Grade, Dr. Phillips Elementary School
Ella Jolie McGinley, First Grade, Cornerstorne Charter Academy
Angelina Perez, Kindergarten, Page Private School
Natalie McCoy, First Grade, Choices in Learning
Isabella Gatton, First Grade, Keeth Elementary School
Grand Prize: Claire Brown, Second Grade, Orangewood Christian School
Merit Award: Heather Li, Third Grade, West Creek Elementary School
Tracy Yu Chen, Second Grade, Audubon Park Elementary School
Serena Young, Second Grade, Lake Highland Prep
Evianna Karastamatis, Third Grade, Page Private School
Honorable Mention: Cristine Lin, Third Grade, Dommerich Elementary School
Thida Soeurng, Third Grade, Dr. Phillips Elementary School
Sydney James, Third Grade, St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School
Mandi Mazzula, Third Grade, Trinity Christian School
Noah Parks, Third Grade, St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School
Madeline Parks, Second Grade, St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School
Ellie Austin, Third Grade, The Geneva School
Sarah Andreasen, Third Grade, The Geneva School
Abby Barner, Third Grade, The Geneva School
Evan Rosado, Second Grade, Trinity Christian School
Aiden Gatton, Third Grade, Keeth Elementary School
Grand Prize: Mikkylah Moore, Fifth Grade, Lake Orienta Elementary School
Merit Award: Olivia Heintzen, Fifth Grade, Lake Orienta Elementary School
Nivedha Srinivasan, Fourth Grade, Dr. Phlillips Elementary School
Anabella Suluh, Fourth Grade, Midway Elementary School
Alivia Indek, Fifth Grade, Countryside Art
Honorable Mention: Maiya Martin, Fourth Grade, Page Private School
Veronika Maynard, Fourth Grade, Page Private School
Summer Quatrini, Fourth Grade, Page Private School
Zachary Shaddeau, Fifth Grade, Lake Orienta Elementary School
Scout Ornberg, Fourth Grade, Lake Orienta Elementary School
Leah Goldstien, Fourth Grade, Altamonte Elementary School
Zelle Towery, Fifth Grade, Trinity Christian School
Trey Hibbard, Fifth Grade, Trinity Christian School
Atish Das, Fifth Grade, Forest City Elementary School
Michelle Barreto, Fifth Grade, Good Shepherd