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Manatees are magnificent creatures that wend through South Florida’s waterways.

They’re also visible at Wilton Manors City Hall and one of the city’s prestigious galleries.

The annual art contest was recognized at the city commission meeting on Dec. 13.

Students from Wilton Manors Elementary and Somerset Academy Village were able to enter a creatively decorated image of a manatee. Entries were displayed on the front windows of city hall. Winners were selected by grade and have moved from city hall to Claudia Castillo Art Studio. Owner Claudia Castillo helped judge the contest and told SFGN it wasn’t easy.

“All are my favorites. It’s hard to choose because it’s the kids. It’s very important for kids to participate. No matter if you win or not, participate.”

In addition to nurturing creativity in local students, both schools received $2,000 for their art programs. Thanks to sponsors, the amount is double what the contest gave out last year. The money supports art programs at the schools.

The manatee and children held a special place in the heart of Former Mayor Justin Flippen. After he died suddenly in February 2020, the contest was dedicated to him as a way to honor him and keep his memory alive.

The winning entries will be on display at Castillo’s art gallery through mid-January.

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