The winner of the State of Florida’s 2023 Black History Month Student Art Contest is Zaylan Hill, a 2nd Grade Student at Golfview Magnet Elementary School!
Zaylan submitted a painting for this year’s contest that he titled “The Highway Man”, which aligned with the theme of the contest, "Celebrating the Achievements of African American Floridians."
His inspiration for the painting was his great-great uncle Robert Lewis, one of the 26 African American Landscape Artists commonly referred to as the Florida Highway Men. These skilled artists created over 200,000 paintings collectively from the 1950s to 1980s of Florida landscapes and natural treasures and challenged many of the racial and cultural barriers as African American Artists during that time.
Mr. Lewis was highlighted in the district-wide Black History Month communication for 2022 and hosted an exhibit at Suntree Elementary of the Highway Men’s work last year.
Zaylan's mother, Tinesha Neal, shared this message: “I am so happy and proud of him that he was chosen to meet the Governor & The First Lady. This experience was wonderful not only for Zaylan but also for me. As we left the Governor’s Mansion, Zaylan said he is ready to paint his next art piece. Thank you to everyone who took the time to Congratulate Zaylan. We are very honored & thankful.”
As one of four winners throughout the state, Zaylan received a $100 art supplies gift card, a plaque, and a one-year pass to Florida state parks. He and his family were also provided an all-expense paid trip to Tallahassee on February 22nd for receipt of the award at the Governor’s mansion. Zaylan and his family will be invited to the March 7th School Board Meeting to be recognized for his accomplishment.