Florida art contest asks children: What does home mean to you?

Posted at 6:26 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 06:26:59-04

The question “What does home mean to you?” can be a complicated one for anybody to answer after a year in the pandemic.

Children across the state of Florida submitted art to a contest in an attempt to answer that question.

Kaylee Aguas is often engrossed in creating artwork. The 14-year-old Bak Middle School student typically focuses on portraits, but this was a diversion.

“I look back four months ago and my art was completely different than what it is now,” she said.

A statewide contest by Florida Housing Finance Corporation pushed her out of her comfort zone.

“I used the house as a metaphor, so like walls of strength, a roof of safety, it’s made with love,” she said.

During the pandemic, her sense of home changed dramatically. Studies show breakups spiked around the world. Aguas’ parents split up in the fall.

“It’s sad, but it’s also a closed door that opens into a new beginning,” she said.

As she divided her time between her parents’ new homes, she looked beyond the physical structure to a more emotional level. Including symbolic references to love, security and strength.

“A home and a house have two completely different meanings,” she explained.

The piece helped her develop a new style, even influencing her final art piece in the school year.

“It’s definitely not the best piece I’ve made, but I think that the meaning behind it is better than any other piece of art that I’ve created.”

Aguas is one of the top 40 selected entrants of more than 200 submissions from around the state. You can view the gallery online here.

The artworks are also prominently displayed in the Florida Housing Finance Corporation building in Tallahassee in honor of National Homeownership Month through June 2021.