ALBANY -- The Albany Historic Preservation Commission started an art contest three years ago to raise awareness of the significance of keeping historic resources intact.
For two years running, Deerfield-Windsor has taken home the top prize.
Emily McPeters, a rising sophomore at the school, won the contest this year for a multimedia piece she created that featured St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
The contest features works by students in Dougherty County in grades 7-12 portraying an Albany National Register property in the medium of their choice. Teachers deliver the artwork for judging, which is conducted by the Albany Area Arts Council.
"The purpose is to make people who don't know the history of the area understand why it's important to preserve these buildings," said Donna Rouse, Deerfield's art teacher.
Even though the awards are presented near the end of the school year, the process for getting the pieces ready for submission actually starts several months before that.
"They give you a long time to work on it, and they are flexible," said Rouse. "I enjoyed doing it, and I look forward to it next year."
Emily actually started on her piece in early January. She was the only student from her school to participate, but that may soon change.
"I plan on creating a mandatory project and having students choose the medium they want and the building they want," Rouse said.
The results for this year's contest were announced earlier this month at a reception at the Thronateeska Heritage Center. The prize was $250, as well as Emily's artwork becoming part of Thronateeska's permanent collection.
"It feels good to get the money," Emily said. "Kids can bring it (Albany's history) back to life. It makes students aware of what they (the historical properties) mean to us."
Even if Emily did not win, there still would have been a future for her piece.
"I thought that if it didn't win that I would donate it to the church," she said.
Art is not new to the Deerfield student. In the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club Art contest this year, Emily took home first and second place in her grade level for her pieces "Apocalyptic Future" and "Autumn."
In addition to placing in art competitions, she has been able to make some money with her art. She has sold four paintings since late December.
"Art is just something that I can do," she said. "My parents constantly remind me that the word that goes with art is 'starving.'
"I'd seriously consider it (full-time), if I can make a career out of it."