Neal Communities hosts 16th annual art contest at Laurel Nokomis Elementary School

Neal Communities (, southwest Florida’s premier, private homebuilder, recently held its annual “My Favorite Home Art Contest” at Laurel Nokomis Elementary School in Nokomis, Fla., where the top five student finalists in each grade level attended along with their families, school officials and guest judges from around the community.

This year marks Neal Communities’ 16th year hosting the My Favorite Home Art Contest, featuring a different community school each year in Manatee or Sarasota County.

“This event is a company highlight every year,” said Leisa Weintraub, vice president of marketing and creative director for the Lakewood Ranch-based homebuilding company. “Our team is continually amazed at the talent the students display drawing their depiction of their favorite homes and the support and dedication of their teachers and parents. We always look forward to sharing that creativity with our friends and families on our firm’s holiday card,” said Weintraub.

Neal Communities also donated $1,000 to the school’s art program at the event.

Students from kindergarten through fifth grade participated in the contest. The kindergarten students reviewed the element of shape to outline their houses and introduced architectural texture plates as they colored them in to give the appearance of brick, shingles and other home details. First-grade students practiced fine motor skills, shape and color in cut paper collages of homes. Second graders utilized tempera paint with basic colors and were required to mix the paint to obtain the rest of their palette. Third-grade students studied space and composition in artwork using colored pencil and marker designs. Fourth graders practiced drawing realistic trees with colored pencil tree houses and fifth graders spent time studying samples of historic American architecture before designing their own dream home in watercolor and pen.

Those submissions were narrowed down to the top 30 entries – five from each grade level. Six grade-level winners were chosen by a celebrity judging panel, including include Caroline Zucker, Sarasota County School Board member; Eric Robinson, Sarasota County School Board financial advisory committee; Venice Mayor John Holic; Tim Smolarick, publisher of the Venice Gondolier; Doug Kerr, executive director of the Venice Symphony; and Venice City Commissioners Emilio Carlesimo and Robert Daniels.

Neal team members from marketing, sales, purchasing, and accounting, joined them. The Neal team will select one overall winner and that student’s artwork will adorn the cover of the Neal Communities’ 2015 holiday card.

Below are the grade-level winners listed in order:

  • Kindergarten – Ryland Howell
  • First grade – Jatorrance Jackson
  • Second grade – Shane Espinoza
  • Third grade – Jack Commander
  • Fourth grade – Juliet Colon
  • Fifth grade – Thomas Taylor

About Neal Communities

Neal Communities was named Professional Builder’s 2015 “Builder of the Year” and one of 2012’s “America’s Best Builders” by BUILDER Magazine and voted the “2013 Best Residential Builder in Southwest Florida” in a readers’ poll sponsored by Gulfshore Business Magazine. The company is ranked No. 1 locally by Metrostudy and by Hanley Wood Market Intelligence based on number of home sales and ranked nationally among the top 50 builders by BUILDER Magazine. To date, Neal has built over 10,000 homes in southwest Florida. As the area’s largest and most established, locally owned and operated private builder, Neal Communities is continually striving for excellence in every aspect of the home building and development business. Neal Signature Homes, Neal Land Ventures, Charlene Neal PureStyle, Waterscapes Pools & Spas, Neal Communities Funding, Fiducia Insurance and Allegiant Title Professionals all contribute to the firm’s continued, record-setting local success. The company’s honors and accolades include 44 Parade of Homes 2015 awards, 50 Aurora Awards, 5 Best in American Living Awards and hundreds of local and regional industry awards.  For more information, please visit

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