MV students sail into 2019 SSA calendar


Updated July 26

Two Martha’s Vineyard students were honored at the Steamship Authority’s “Sail Into Imagination” Art Contest reception at Cotuit Art Center on Monday.

Chloe Nicotera, grade 4, of the Tisbury School, and Lethicia Diniz, grade 3, of the Edgartown School, were two out of several grade-school students honored at this year’s ceremony and art show. The girls’ artwork will be featured in the Steamship Authority’s 2019 calendar, Lethicia’s in July and Chloe’s in September.

Lethicia was at the event, accompanied by family and friends. “I took the boat to get here,” she said, beaming at her artwork on display. Lethicia moved to the Island in November, but has participated every year that the contest has been put on, winning a spot each year in the calendar. She explained that the other years she entered, when she attended Mullen Hall School in Falmouth, she would look at pictures of the ferry and scenery as a reference. However, this year, she simply looked at the boat and drew what she wanted to in the background. Her art featured fireworks, and she explained that this was a calculated choice — she particularly enjoys the Fourth of July, and she thought she could get a chance to be featured in July. This smart third grader hit the nail on the head, winning the approval of three blue-ribbon panel judges, who picked her artwork for July.

Lethicia said she owes her entries to her mother’s encouragement from a young age. She will continue to enter the contest as long as she can, she said. The SSA awarded each winner art supplies and a gift of travel on an SSA vessel, so that the artists’ skills can continue to blossom throughout the next year.

Kimberlee McHugh, director of marketing for the SSA, explained that her favorite part of hosting the contest is meeting the artists, and having them all together. “I love seeing the young artists here,” she said while handing out prizes.

Brad Schiff, president of Pierce-Coté Advertising, explained during the award ceremony that the SSA hosts the contest to “involve the residents of the port communities and have fun during the end of the school year.” Their aim is to see the imagination and artistic skills of the students, and to bring out the common thread between each of the communities of their tie to the ocean. McHugh explained that all port community school districts, including Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Falmouth, Hyannis, New Bedford, and Fairhaven, get information on the contest in both English and Portuguese, and that the SSA does outreach to art teachers in the spring.

All artwork selected had to involve the theme of “Sail Into Imagination,” involve an SSA ferry, and incorporate images of seaside life.

Updated to correct Fairhaven as one of the port communities. -Ed.