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Competitive twist put on art at South Effingham
Jaden Figurelli
Effingham County’s Jaden Figurelli holds her winning portrait at the end of eliminations of Saturday’s Art Throwdown. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

 GUYTON — Saturday’s Art Throwdown in the South Effingham High School gym featured just about everything an athletic contest has except sweat.

The competitive event featured colorful jerseys, cheering fans and a referee. It also required artists to perform toe to toe under time constraints.

“I think this was a great idea,” said Effingham County teacher Donna Holder, whose team edged the host by 1.6 points. “South Effingham teacher) Lindsey (Gerow) came up with this last spring and asked me about it. I think it’s a great way to get the arts out there and let the kids complete in something other than football.”

The teams competed in three “scrimmages” — still-life drawing, figure drawing and portrait elimination. 

“It was very scary,” said Effingham County senior Jaden Figurelli, the winner of the portrait elimination. 

The portrait category featured multiple rounds of contestants drawing pictures of opponents seated directly in front of them. Referee Kimberly Larson, often with advice from Ali Garcia, decided which students advanced.

Figurelli tried to not let the spectators distract her. They swarmed around the competitors, talking and taking pictures.

“I was so focused that I was kind of worried about it but not much,” she said.

The winning team also included Kas Fennell and Ranger Jorge. 

Holder and Gerow agreed to have additional throwdowns this year. The next one will likely take place in the spring.

“I am so excited for this to grow,” Gerow said. “This has been a dream since March. I met some other people who do this up in Atlanta.”

Gerow envisions more teams participating.

“I would love to challenge some people in Savannah,” she said. “I have some friends at other high schools that I think would be really interested in this.”

In the meantime, Gerow warned Effingham County not to get too cozy with the trophy it won Saturday.

“We’re coming for it,” she said.