Vibrantly colored pictures of superheroes like Captain America and an army of brightly arrayed Pokemon characters fill the Columbus condominium of Michelle Petruskevich.
They are the meticulous creations of her 7- year-old grandson, Jaxson Paas, and his 64-box of Crayola crayons.
In the future, one of those crayons might bear a name Petruskevich coined if it wins an online contest that concludes Aug. 31.
The name Petruskevich chose, Star Spangled Blue, is one of five finalists selected from approximately 90,000 entries to replace Dandelion, a shade of yellow Crayola is retiring.
“I still love coloring today with Scooter,” said Petruskevich, 53, using her nickname for Jaxson, who spends many afternoons at her home just outside Hilliard, near Dublin Road and Fishinger Boulevard.
Petruskevich said she passed on her love of coloring to Jaxson and looks forward to doing so soon with her second grandson, Brantley, who is 20 months old.
As a child, Petruskevich said, she was among the students who had the 64-box of Crayola crayons with the built-in sharpener, and it garnered attention at her east Columbus elementary school.
“If you went to school and had the 64-box with the sharpener, boy, you were somebody. ... Everyone congregated around that kid,” she said.
She said Jaxson reignited her love for the tactile exercise of choosing a favorite hue and filling the pale void found inside the bold, black lines.
So when Petruskevich discovered a Crayola naming contest for a new shade of blue, she knew she had to submit an entry.
The new crayon resembles Crayola’s Cerulean color and was inspired by the accidental discovery of the blue-hued pigment by chemists at Oregon State University, according to Petruskevich.
Crayola accepted entries until June 2 and then announced five finalists for an online poll to choose the new name.
The finalists are Bluetiful, Blue Moon Bliss, Dreams Come Blue, Reach for the Stars and Petruskevich’s Star Spangled Blue.
Petruskevich said she was thrilled to receive an email from Crayola officials that simply indicated her nomination was a finalist.
Petruskevich said she considered several names, including ocean blue, while striving “to find a name that kids can relate to” that also had a purpose.
Upon reflecting upon her family’s patriotism – her father and brother-in-law are U.S. Army veterans and her father-in-law is a U.S. Air Force veteran – Petruskevich chose Star Spangled Blue.
She said she remembers stories her father shared about his service before his death in 2011 at the age of 73.
“The blue reminds me of our American flag and our national anthem,” Petruskevich said. “That’s why I chose the name. ... I want kids to learn to respect (the flag) and the meaning behind it.”
Petruskevich said she also hopes children embrace the joy of art, including coloring, and lamented that not as many children do so for a variety of factors.
Her chief motivation to win the contest, she said, is to provide a $1,000 donation to the arts program at Jaxson’s Ridgewood Elementary School.
The crayon-naming contest winner will receive a four-person trip to the Crayola Experience attraction in Orlando, Florida, a $100 Crayola prize pack, a $1,000 gift card and $1,000 donation to a school-arts program.
“I’m sad that arts programs in schools are getting cut back (and) I hope I win,” Petruskevich said.
Voting is open through Aug. 31 at crayola.com.
Petruskevich said she expects to learn in September if Star Spangled Blue is selected.