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home : education : schools June 24, 2016

2/18/2014 12:56:00 PM
Sisters artists make a mark on scholastic awards
Many Sisters art students were honored for their endeavors through the Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Many Sisters art students were honored for their endeavors through the Scholastic Arts and Writing Competition. photo provided

By Sue Stafford

The Sisters middle and high school art students made quite a showing in this year's regional Scholastic Arts and Writing competition. In its 91st year nationally, the competition here in Central Oregon is in its sixth year with students from Madras to La Pine and Prineville to Sisters eligible to participate.

Information from their website states, "The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards began as a small writing contest with a $5 prize and six winning applicants in 1923. Today, more than 90,000 teens in grades 7 through 12 from around the nation annually submit more than 185,000 works of art and writing in 28 categories. Winning students earn opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarships."

For the first time ever, submission and judging was all done online via photographs of the students' work. Those chosen as gold, silver or honorable-mention winners were then submitted for an exhibit at the Central Oregon Community College gallery.

All regional gold key winners go on to participate in the national competition held at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. The award show is held at Carnegie Hall, and the winners there have their work in an exhibit titled ART.WRITE.NOW that travels to major U.S. cities. The national winners will be announced in March.

Sisters has had five national winners in the past six years, including SHS graduate Tanner Smith, whose gold key sculpture also received the American Vision award, which is the people's choice winner. Smith went on to receive a full-ride scholarship to Massachusetts School of Art, where he is pursuing his work in sculpture.

Last year Meganne Mills and her high school art teacher, Bethany Gunnarson, traveled to New York City where she was awarded both gold and silver keys for her drawings. Meganne was a speaker at this year's award ceremony at COCC. For most young winners, this recognition is their first experience of being identified as serious artists, and impact on their self-perception can be life-changing. Gunnarson and Carolyn Platt, Sisters Middle School art teacher, concur that participation in the Scholastic competition is a real confidence-booster for the students. Winning an award gives the student the belief that "I can compete and do well," says Platt.

Photos of the middle school winners can be seen in the display case across from the office at the middle school. The high school work is on display next to the media center at Sisters High School. In March all the winners will be in an exhibit in the Sisters Library community room.

Regionally, Sisters High School is the only one to have a jewelry program. Gunnarson has been the visual-arts teacher at the high school for four years, and Platt has been teaching art to the middle-schoolers for nine years.

Former national winners include artist Andy Warhol, writer Truman Capote, and actor Robert Redford. There are eleven art categories in the competition. Gold and silver winners receive a key-shaped pin that they are able to wear and certificates are awarded to the honorable-mention winners.

High school gold key winners are: Haley Brink, sculpture; Haley Carlson, printmaking; Brogin Dye, two awards on ceramics; Tessa Halley, sculpture; Meganne Mills, drawing; Crystal Reifschneider, printmaking; Danielle Rudinsky, jewelry; and Alaina Todd, sculpture.

High school silver key awards went to: Hailey Brink, eight awards for jewelry; Haley Carlson, printmaking; Carly Gascon, sculpture; Meganne Mills, 11 awards drawing; Crystal Reifschneider, sculpture; Danielle Rudinsky, jewelry; Autumn Saunders, jewelry; Dakota Wagner, mixed medium; Lauren Wattenburg, drawing; Breanna Weems, jewelry; and Maya Wieland, sculpture.

Honorable-mention high school award-winners are: Chawndra Craig, jewelry; Sarah Dumolt, drawing; Meganne Mills, three awards in drawing; Tessa O'Hern, drawing; Crystal Reifschneider, drawing; Autumn Saunders, jewelry; and Dakota Wagner, jewelry.

Middle school gold key awards went to: Alena Lynn Albertson, painting; True Duerden, sculpture; Ethan Kennedy, sculpture; and Casey Warburton, painting.

Silver key middle school award-winners are: Meredith Mandal, painting; Emily Ogan, sculpture; Claire Schnell, painting; and Kendra Sitz, sculpture.

Honorable mention for middle school went to: Kassandra Carrillo, painting; Bridget Huni, sculpture; and Meredith Mandal, sculpture.

The Oregon Arts Education Association is the sponsor for regional competitions throughout the state. Pat Roberts, art teacher at Pilot Butte Middle School, is the force behind the Central Oregon competition, and received praise from Gunnarson and Platt for her tireless efforts on behalf of the regional competition and exhibit. At this time there is no writing competition in Central Oregon.

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