Local girl is first place artist in PA Farm Bureau contest

RICHFIELD – A Juniata County girl was named first place artist in the state by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

Eliana Maneval, the daughter of Rusty and Debra Maneval of Richfield, placed first in Juniata County in the “Safer, Smarter on the Farm” Essay series earlier this year. Her work was sent to the state level in the spring. She again placed first.

Eliana, 10, will have her work featured at Ag Progress Days in State College Aug. 12-14. She will then be honored by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau during its annual convention Nov. 17, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.

There, she will receive a $50 Visa Gift card.

Jackie Matter is the District 10 (Juniata, Mifflin, Perry and Huntingdon Counties)Women’s Representative for the PA Farm Bureau.

She said each year the farm bureau sponsors an art contest for students ages 7-9 and 10-12 and an essay contest for those ages 13-15 and 16-18 at the county and state levels.

Eliana entered the 7-9 year-old level last year and won first place in Juniata County for 2013. She won second in the state that year.

This year she was able to enter in the 10-12 year-old category and placed first in both county and state.

Thirty five students in that age group participated this year.

“Her artwork is very well done,” Matter said, “Her animals seem so detailed.”

Eliana’s grandparents, Wayne and Shirley Dressler of East Salem first heard about the contest when they received a newsletter from the Farm Bureau one day. The retired farmers knew their granddaughter’s love for art and felt this was a perfect fit for her.

Eliana has been interested in drawing since the age of 4, her mom, Deb, said.

“We realized she was going to be an artist when she would want detail in her pictures. They weren’t just stick figures. They had to have shoes and dresses”

The 10 year-old is not without a pen or pencil wherever she goes. She spends much of her free time sketching.

The idea for the Farm Bureau picture was one that “just came to me,” Eliana said simply. Many times she would go to a friend’s farm and get ideas to sketch a cow or a horse. Horses are among her favorite subjects to create.

Eliana has also been perfecting her craft in recent years by attending art classes given by Tracey Mitchell of Middleburg.

Art is a part of her everyday life and she said she hopes to incorporate it into her future.

Eliana was adopted from China as a toddler and her hopes are to return to China one day as an artist missionary. She would like to minister to children through her art.

The fifth grader plans to use her $50 gift card to buy some treats for her puppy, Jack, and to buy more art supplies.