This year, Marlborough Visual Arts students received a total of 94 awards in the regional 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition and a total of 8 awards in the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in categories such as photography, drawing and painting, digital arts, and writing.
Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized student artists and writers, who receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarship through the Scholastic program. Past award winners include Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Robert Indiana, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford, Ken Burns, and Richard Linklater.
Marlborough students won 45 Honorable Mention Awards (two of which are Honorable Mention Art Portfolios), 32 Silver Key Awards (two are Silver Art Portfolios) and 17 Gold Key Awards (two are Gold Art Portfolios). Each Art Portfolio consists of 8 individual art pieces of comparable quality. The highest Scholastic regional award is the Gold Key award, followed by the Silver Key Award and Honorable Mention. Works of art awarded Gold Keys were then judged on Scholastic’s national level.
On Monday, Mar. 16, Marlborough student artists and writers won eight awards in total for the national Scholastic Awards. Julia ’16 won a Gold Medal in the Drawing & Illustration category, Wesley ’15 won two Silver Medals, both in Drawing & Illustration, Sam ’15 won a Silver Medal for her entire art portfolio, which included Drawing & Illustration as well as film and digital art, Jae-Jae ’15 won a Silver Medal in the Mixed Media category and Ariella ’15 won three medals in the writing category: one Gold Medal for poetry, one Silver Medal for poetry and one Gold Medal for a short story. (The national the awards are called medals; the regional awards are called keys.)
This year was much more competitive than previous years because Marlborough students were competing against student artists from all over the Western region rather than just the state for the same number of awards.
According to visual arts instructor Kathy Rea, in the past, a local art institution, usually an art school, has judged all the works submitted into the regional competition and has hosted a reception for the regional Gold Key winners.
“For whatever reason, the western region didn’t have a host this year, so Scholastic decided that the regional judging would be done through the New York office. Therefore, last year the judging was done through the state of California, and this year the judging was part of The West Art Region-at-Large, a much bigger group which, included California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming,” Rea said.
However, Julia and Sam both said that they didn’t really notice a change in the competition from previous years since they didn’t see the pieces created by the artists they were competing against.
Despite the challenge of competing against so many artists, Marlborough received the third highest number of awards out of all of the schools participating regionally, according to visual arts instructor Chelsea Dean.
“For Marlborough to come up third place and to receive 94 awards–considering the fact that we’re not an art school and we’re not a big school–I think speaks volumes about our art program,” Dean said.
According to Rea, there were more than 250,000 works of art and writing submitted.
“Marlborough artists were competing with the top one percent of student artists in the nation,” Rea said.
All National Medal winners and their teachers have the opportunity to travel to New York, where they will be honored at The National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 11. National winners are also eligible for numerous scholarships through Scholastic or partnered college and universities. All Gold Medal winners will have their artwork on display at selected galleries in New York City.
Jae-Jae, who won a Silver Medal for her piece, “Mid-Century Mansion,” said that she’s looking forward to going to Carnegie Hall to be honored this June.
“I was very surprised and excited to win nationally because now I have the opportunity to be recognized at Carnegie Hall for my national win,” Jae-Jae said.
Jae-Jae created her piece last year in AP 2D Design: Photography at School.
“The idea for my piece was based on a project assigned the year before. The project was to print two photos, then cut shapes out of one photo and place the cut photo on top of the other photo. The cut out shapes from the top photo reveal parts of the photo underneath it. For this piece, I put bright-colored construction paper to make the image pop off the wall. I am interested in graphic 2D design, which shows in my art,” Jae-Jae said.
Julia received a Gold Medal for an illustration that she drew and worked on digitally.
“The assignment was to make an illustration for Ms. Tonnu’s creative writing class. I took one of the girls’ short stories about her grandfather and his favorite arm chair, and I took that and made my piece based on her story, so I did that last year and it was just a line drawing and it wasn’t finished. And then this year, Ms. Rea suggested that I put it in photoshop and finish it and play around with the colors, so I added a few simple things like shadows and the colors on the floor,” Julia said.
“I certainly didn’t expect to win. I was really surprised and excited when I found out,” she continued.
In the past, Marlborough girls have won national awards but, because the date of the Carnegie Hall ceremony was the same date as Marlborough’s graduation, they never were able to attend. However, Christina ’14 won a Gold Medal as a sophomore and attended the ceremony in Carnegie Hall.
This year, the Carnegie Hall ceremony does not conflict will not occur on the same day as graduation, so the five national winners will have the opportunity to be honored at Carnegie Hall.