First-grader wins statewide contest

BOURBON — Lilee Stetzel, a Triton Elementary School first grade student, recently chalked up a doozy on her list of life experiences. She visited Governor Mitch Daniels’ Indianapolis residence with her parents and was allowed to sit in the governor’s chair.
The family was there for an award reception. Lilee won honorable mention in the statewide art contest held by REMC of Indiana — beating out 3,000 other entries — earlier this year. Her drawing of a cowboy riding his horse in the desert appears on the cover of this year's REMC calendar.
“She was thrilled,” said Lilee’s mother Kim Stetzel. “She gets really hyper when something exciting happens. She was jumping up and down with a big smile on her face.”
The reception was held at Daniels’ residence because the governor is a great supporter of Indiana artists, said Kim. Although the family was not able to meet Daniels himself, they enjoyed seeing the many works by Hoosier artists that were displayed on the walls of the governor’s home. Lilee’s drawing is currently touring Hoosier Salon art studios in Wabash, Indianapolis, and New Harmony.
The inside pages of the calendar feature drawings by other Indiana K-12 students. Each month represents the winner from each grade. January is the first grade winner, February the second grade winner, and so on Lilee was in kindergarten when she entered, so her drawing appears on the front. Kim said that Lilee actually drew five different pictures for the contest. Her other scenes included an octopus in the sea, a barnyard, a party, and a handprint surrounded by rainbows of color.
“(Lilee) is very imaginative,” said Kim. “She’s always been my artistic child. She has always wanted to color and draw and paint.”
Lilee lives in Bourbon with her parents, Jared and Kim, and her two younger siblings, Connor, 5, and Rylan, 5 months. She is an avid artist, and Kim said that Lilee has an increased interest since winning the contest.
“She's already planning what she is drawing for this year’s contest,” said Kim. “She was talking about that all the way home (from the governor's house).”
Lilee intends to try her hand at watercolor and colored pencils in future projects. Kim said that Lilee has asked to paint the walls of her bedroom herself, and wants to add a mural.
“We’ll have to see about that,” said Kim, laughing.