News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Awards mark high achievement

Sisters’ talented art students had their work judged against a fierce statewide competition — and came out winners.

Last Saturday, Sisters middle and high school students were celebrated at the Scholastic Art Awards in the Pence Pinkney Art Gallery at Central Oregon Community College (COCC), where they received their award certificates.

This year, there were over 800 entries in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in Central Oregon alone.

The annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the nation’s longest-running recognition program for artistic teens grades 7-12. The awards give students opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships. The program awards around $300,000 in scholarships each year to the top award.

Since 1923 the annual Scholastic Awards have recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated.

Submissions were judged by a panel of artists, educators and creative professionals. Artwork is judged based on originality, personal vision and technical skills.

Students can enter many categories including painting, digital art, sculpture, photography, jewelry, ceramics and fashion.

This year Sisters High School art students had 53 awards, and six receiving awards from Sisters Middle School.

Bethany Gunnarson, visual arts teacher at Sisters High School (SHS), said, “This is the 14th year for SHS students entering into The Scholastic Art Awards. This gives students an opportunity to have an outlet and get honored for their hard work. I’m really proud of the work they do, and every year it’s a wonderful surprise to see all the pieces that get entered. These students get judged blindly in Portland, digitally.”

Mitchell Griffin, a senior at SHS, was awarded two Gold Keys: one for photography and one for his portfolio. He was also awarded a Silver Key for his photography.

Griffin grew up in Sisters and has always enjoyed taking photos around Central Oregon.

Griffin noted, “My biggest inspiration is nature and the amazing scenery we have in the area. I really started getting serious about photography during 8th grade. My favorite subjects to photograph are those found in nature, so anything from wildlife to landscapes. I plan on studying both photography and engineering next year in college.”

Senior art student Hailey Mosca won five awards; three honorable mentions and two Silver Keys in the category of ceramics.

Mosca told The Nugget, “When I was a little girl I was always crafting or doing some sort of little art project. Art has always been a creative outlet for me. It wasn’t until high school that I started working with ceramics. For the last four years I’ve taken some form of ceramics class every semester along with a few drawing and painting classes.

“I have entered my work in Scholastic Art Awards since freshman year. It’s fun to get to show others my artwork that I’m proud of, and I’m able to see so much artwork from other talented artists. It’s a win win!”

Maddison Anderson, also a senior, grew up in Sisters and has taken art classes for the past four years, exploring many different media.

“I really mixed it up with different fields for my portfolio,” Anderson said, “I now primarily focus on watercolors, and I’ve also been doing mixed media with wire work as well. I used a lot of my work that I hadn’t entered from last year. I worked on ceramics in previous years and entered pieces on the wheel like jars and lids and other sculptures, but it was my watercolors that got the awards.”

Anderson was awarded two Silver Keys and five honorable mentions.

She added, “Art has really become an outlet for me, and I like spending time in the classroom using my creativity to bring something to life.”

The art pieces from Central Oregon students will remain on display at the Pence Pinckney Art Gallery at COCC through March 1. The eight Gold Key recipients will have their art sent to national judging, with results released in March.


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