By Gabrielle Fellows
The Judith Rae Solomon Gallery and the fourth floor art department in Bliss Hall at Youngstown State University will be home once again for the Northeastern Ohio Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition.
The exhibit opened Jan. 12 and will run through Jan. 29, showcasing artwork from students in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties in grades 7-12.
Students whose art is entered into the gallery have an opportunity to win a variety of awards, including Gold and Silver Key awards and Honorable Mentions. The art in the competition is chosen by each high school’s art teacher and is meant to best represent the participating school’s most outstanding student work.
Edie Davidson, advisory committee member of the awards exhibition, said that the exhibit has shown increased interest and support from the community and it is clearly visible in the number of participants in the show alone.
“Each school can enter up to 25 pieces where before, last year, there was only nine,” Davidson said. “As for awards, a couple people who teach at the university level and a couple of people who are retired high school art teachers judge them, so they know what to expect from each level of artist. All the art is judged online … which takes away some of the depth at times and you can’t see all the detail in the work … but it’s the way of the future, it seems. These judges are the ones who delegate all the awards.”
These entries are then judged and given awards. Any participant whose art receives either an American Visions Award or a Gold Key award will be then sent to New York City to compete with other students across the nation for other awards and possible scholarships.
Davidson said she believes the community recognition of the student’s artwork is extremely beneficial to the confidence of the young blossoming artists.
“I think that the recognition for some students is life-changing and encourages them to pursue a career in art where they may have just dismissed it otherwise as praise from their high school teacher,” she said. “This gives them the opportunity to be recognized at the regional level.”
William Young, coordinator of the event, also said he strongly believes that students having art in the exhibit motivates young artists to excel in their talents.
“The Scholastic Art Awards is the one of the most prestigious art shows for students in grades 7-8 and 9-12. When I was a high school student, I remember receiving the letter informing me that my work was accepted into the show and that it won a Gold Key. I was deeply moved when my parents and teacher came to ceremony at Youngstown State University,” Young said. “Seeing my work, next to other award-winning works, validated, for me, my ability in art and influenced my decision to attend YSU and major in art education.
“So I do believe that the Scholastic Art Awards positively affects students’ confidence in their art abilities. My favorite part about the show is honoring the students. I look forward to shaking each and every student’s hand and congratulating them on their accomplishments.”