Torani Cherry Syrup is sporting a new, limited-edition label drawn by 14-year-old Rachael Jones from the SAFE Bulldog Academy in Stratford, Oklahoma. For the seventh year in a row, Torani has held the national Art for Kids competition to find artwork from afterschool participants to display on limited-edition syrup labels in support of afterschool. Proceeds from bottles displaying Rachael’s cherry blossom art will benefit children’s tsunami relief programs in Japan. This year’s designs are unprecedented—all three winning artists, chosen out of hundreds of entries from across the country, came from the same afterschool program.
I’ve always drawn for fun. My mom said that when I was 3, I could already draw a mermaid. I didn’t really take art very seriously until I started going to Ms. Reierson’s art class at SAFE Bulldog Academy about two years ago. Now, my parents have said that I ought to get a job as a comic book artist because I’ve illustrated comic books with things like ninjas and mythical images.
It’s been really fun being a part of the SAFE program. In afterschool there’s always something to do while your parents are at work. At SAFE, we get snacks and homework help and I get the chance to do whatever I want and try new things like art and sports. My afterschool program is also the only chance I get to see some of my friends. We’re all in different grades at school so we don’t get to see each other during the day, but in afterschool we can talk all we want instead of sitting home all alone.
I’ve always liked Japanese culture, especially their architecture and exotic plants, so I thought it would be fun to try to draw a cherry blossom for the Torani art contest. When I found out that I won, I didn’t believe it at first—I thought they were playing a prank on me! I knew Japan was a hotspot for earthquakes and I’m glad that my art will be able to help them with everything that’s happened since the tsunami earlier this year.