Braden River High artists raise money for charity with their designs.
Amanda Gillick painstakingly sketched out the design for the Surfers for Autism T-shirt, knowing the money raised by her work would go toward a good cause.
“I wanted to use puzzle pieces because they’re a symbol of autism,” Gillick said of her design.
Gillick is a member of the Braden River High Artillery Club, an extracurricular activity for advanced art students. She and the other club members drew three designs to be used in a fundraising contest hosted by Bluewater Gear shirts.
The Artillery Club teamed up with Bluewater Gear to design shirts to support three non-profits: Mote Marine Laboratory, Surfers for Autism and Save the Sea Turtles Foundation.
The Braden River students’ designs are displayed on the Bluewater Gear website mightycause.com/team/Bluewatergearshirtcontest.
People can donate to one of the nonprofits, with half of the donation going to the Braden River High art program. Eventually, the nonprofit that collects the most donations will have a T-shirt produced and marketed by Bluewater Gear. The other two designs aren’t used on T-shirts, but are put on decals that are sent to those who donated to that particular cause.
Those who donated to the winning design and nonprofit receive a T-shirt.
The students are anxious to see which design draws the most donations. The overall goal of the campaign, which runs through May 16, is to raise $15,000 for charity. So far, approximately $2,300 has been raised, with Mote leading the way with more than $1,700 in donations.
Senior Amy Irizarry designed the Save the Turtles Foundation T-shirt.
“It’s exciting because it’s public and our work is printed on something (either a T-shirt or a decal) forever,” Irizarry said. “Everyone who donates will be able to see it.”
Having the opportunity to have their work published is a big deal, said art teacher William Ferrell.
“A lot of kids in college don’t even get an opportunity like this,” Ferrell said. “It could help them get jobs and get into college.”
Senior Destiny Summerville, who was on the team that designed the Surfers for Autism entry, said while the thought of the contest benefiting her future professional career is exciting, she simply likes the competition.
“I just think winning would be so overwhelming,” she said. “It would be great.”
The Mote design team was led by senior Sean Michael Koch. He, along with Summerville, will be attending Ringing College of Art and Design in the fall.
Koch said his team visited Mote to do research before coming up with a design.
“The grouper is all anyone talks about,” Koch said of the visit.
The Mote design depicts a giant grouper that inhabits an aquarium tank at Mote.
But Koch isn’t worried whether his design work is recognized.
“For us, it was less about the art and more about the value that it brings to the charity,” he said.