High school students exhibit strong showing in art contest
Artwork by a group of 12 Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) students proved to be a standout in the annual Boston Globe's Scholastic Art Awards contest, bringing home eight awards last week.
"The kids' work was really strong. We knew we were going to get something, but we did not expect so many!" said Paul Brissette, chairman, of the MVRHS art and design department.
With entries in several art media categories, the students competed with more than 3,400 students from grades 7 through 12 representing 391 public, private, parochial and home schools statewide. From those, 150 gold key winners, 471 silver key winners and 720 honorable mentions were chosen.
Senior portfolio gold key, photography, Andrew Valenti.
Two MVRHS students, Ashley Meglio and Elise Swartwood, won gold keys, the competition's highest honor, in photography and digital imagery, respectively. Emily Regan won a silver key for computer art.
Contest nominees who are high school seniors can submit a portfolio as well as individual pieces of art. Of the five senior portfolios submitted by MVRHS students, four were accepted into the contest and won senior portfolio gold keys for Niko Ewing, Marshall Pratt, Ben Sweet, and Andrew Valenti.
"We have never gotten so many portfolio awards," said Mr. Brissette. Winning the portfolio awards makes the seniors eligible for scholarships and national awards, he said.
The four winning senior portfolios all featured photography. Mr. Brissette credits Mr. Baer, who teaches most of the high school's photography classes, with making the program grow. "Once I hired Chris Baer, I realized he was the guy," he said. "I keep my foot in it, but he's the thrust behind it." Honorable mention awards went to MVRHS students Lucia Dillon, painting, Luiza Mouzinho, photography, Elysha Roberts, mixed media, Gabrielle Sullo, drawing, and Nica Sylvia, photography.
"All of these kids are applying to different art and film schools," said Mr. Brisette. "That's a motivation to get the work done."
The number of entries per school is based on enrollment. Choosing the high school's 12 entries was no easy task, Mr. Brissette said. Last December, he and the other teachers in his department - Chris Baer, Janice Frame, and Scott Campbell - culled possible submissions from their students down to six pieces each and met for a group critique before cutting their selections down to three apiece.
"We filter down from thousands of pieces and then narrow it to twelve," Mr. Brissette explained. "We do it ourselves. We sort of know what's strong and what isn't."
The contest winners were honored last Sunday in ceremonies held at the John Hancock Hall in Boston, attended by MVRHS students Niko Ewing and Ben Sweet. They were among the first to view the contest's art exhibit where they each have two photos on display, along with artwork by the other senior gold portfolio, gold key and silver key winners.
The exhibit at the State Transportation Building in Park Plaza is free to the public and is open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm and on weekends from noon until 5 pm.
On Feb. 19, the gold key individual and portfolio works will be shipped to New York for display at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, a national competition. The silver key works remain on exhibit at the transportation building until Feb. 24.
The Boston Globe's Scholastic Art Awards contest, now in its 56th year, features students' works in animation, ceramics and glass, computer art, design, digital imagery, drawing, painting, mixed media, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video and film.