TALLADEGA -- Clara Scelsi, of Pell City, is a 7-year-old second-grader at the Alabama School for the Blind. She is also a lot more than that.

Most recently, she entered the American Printing House for the Blind’s annual Insights Art contest in Louisville, Kentucky, and won first place, beating out hundreds of entries from all 50 states.

“I just like to draw,” she said.

The winning painting, titled “Strike Up the Band,” shows three musicians marching and playing their instruments, surrounded by music notes.

“It makes me happy that people like my drawing,” she was quoted as saying in a resolution passed by the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind board of trustees Tuesday. “I just wanted to draw something cool. I wanted to bring people together with music. I wanted people to imagine themselves in the drawing and actually listening to the three little girls.”

The bottom of the resolution from the trustees reads, “Now, therefore be it resolved by the AIDB Board of Trustees that Clara, we do like your painting, too, and yes, we can imagine these little girls playing the music. Be it further resolved that this board congratulates you, Clara, for your beautiful work and first place award. We encourage you to continue drawing.”

A lot of other people were impressed with her work.

AIDB President Dr. John Mascia said he attended the show in Kentucky and intended to buy the painting before the show opened, only to find someone had beaten him to it.

He also said that when he and Scelsi went to go look at the exhibit, he instinctively reached for her arm to help guide her to the exhibit. It turned out she didn’t need his help. She was able to navigate the hotel lobby, in spite of a significant crowd, using only her cane.

The AIDB board honored Scelsi on Tuesday, but her profile will be increasing even more next week, when she will serve as co-grand marshal of the Talladega Christmas Parade alongside Darren Knight, aka Southern Mama.

After receiving the resolution, she said, “I don’t really care if I win or lose. I just really love to draw.”

And that is only one of her outside interests. Her ambitions also include being a race car driver and a Battle-Bots engineer, she added.

 

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