Scholastic Art Winners paint bright futures


Mikayla Wagner

Drawing of a frog done by Mikayla Wagner.

Estella Cui, Staff Writer

Every year, the Scholastic Art Awards holds a competition for students in grades seven through twelve. On January 28, Scholastic released the winners of the regional competition. Many students from WA, including sophomore Alison Chen, senior Patrick Zheng, senior Margaret Lepeshkin, and sophomore Mikayla Wagner, received the highest award, the Golden Key.

The competition accepts entries first by region and then within the whole country. All award winners get their names published in the Boston Globe. In addition, winners of the Golden Key get their artwork put on display in Boston. “I was not at all expecting this [to win],” Wagner said. “I think you can start [working] from anywhere and if you’re passionate about something you can really just take off.”

Along with passion and wanting to do the best one can do, WA winners of the Golden Key also stressed the importance of choosing the right piece. Sophomore Alison Chen wanted to convey a message to the judges and anyone else admiring her piece.

“I chose the ones [pieces] that I feel showed my best technique, as well as the ones that I felt sent the right message and just express what I wanted to express,” Chen said.

In addition to drawing and painting, the Scholastic Art Awards also accepts mediums like sculpting. Senior Patrick Zheng was the winner of the Best of Sculpting award.

“Since I was a child, I have always liked modeling things,” Zheng said. “[…] I started this project for fun. I put more time into it because it was something that I enjoy doing and I wanted to do it better.”

Each year, art teacher Kelly Fitzsimmons creates a project for students to work on that they can possibly submit to the competition.

“I never make anyone enter, but they are encouraged to consider this competition,” Fitzsimmons said. “[…] Mostly I just try to spread the word as much as possible and then give them [students] the link for information.”

Fitzsimmons opens the floor for students to explore mediums and styles on their own.

“I tell them [students] that it’s just a group of judges [whose opinion depends on their own personal experience],” Fitzsimmons said. “Technical skills [are] something that can be judged, but personal voice and expression become very subjective.”

Under Fitzsimmons’s guidance, each artist was able to grow into their own person. Zheng fell in love with sculpting, Chen got the best results with acrylic paint, and senior Margaret Lepshkin enjoyed the wonders of using oil paints.

With every competition comes the possibility of failure and denial. When faced with challenges and a lack of motivation, Chen has some advice.

“I feel like I get too caught up in bigger projects, and it can make me go through a period of time where I don’t really want to do anything,” Chen said. “So, I think it’s important to do smaller things more frequently. Do smaller sketchbook projects or things that do not take that much time. That’s the best way for me to stay motivated and get back into it.”

Likewise, Wagner has a piece of advice for aspiring artists and people who are struggling to find their passion.

“Absolutely go for your dreams,” Wagner said. “Do whatever you want to do because it’s never too late.”