WA artists recognized in 2022-23 Scholastic Art Awards


provided by Shlok Gupta

A cropped version of the photo sophomore Shlok Gupta submitted and won a Gold Key award.

Pravar Mukkala, Co-Managing Editor

17 WA art students have won statewide awards for their artwork at the 2022-2023 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The competition was open to grades 7-12 in both semester and full-year art classes. However, the majority of applicants were from WA’s Studio Art, Advanced Art, or AP Art and Design. Winners of the highest level, the Gold Key, include seniors Shreyas Sanikommu, Hana Usmani, and Yanxin Wang; juniors Emily FitzPatrick, Elizabeth Lu, and Daanya Usmani; and sophomore Shlok Gupta.

“This year, we have so many awards, but more than in previous years. I’m super psyched and proud of the students who entered,” art teacher Kelly Lampert said.

The 17 students who were recognized received a collective nine Gold Keys, two Silver Keys, and 26 Honorable Mentions for their pieces. All pieces that won Silver and Gold will be displayed at Breed Memorial Hall at Tufts University in Medford from March 18 to March 25. All of the Gold winners will also be automatically entered into the national level awards, and results for these will be released on March 22.

Although in the past teachers used to handpick art pieces, students are now free to submit any pieces, whether they made them for school or outside of school. Most pieces WA students sent in were drawings or paintings, with considerably less submissions of physical media such as ceramics or jewelry. Students could also submit portfolios of multiple pieces that fell under a certain theme. Wang, who submitted two portfolios, won Gold Keys for both.

“Yanxin won Gold Keys for both, which is super rare, and really a great honor for him,” art teacher Lampert said. “[This is] a great recognition.”

According to Lampert, more students felt encouraged to submit their art due to looser requirements, which resulted in a higher number of awards. In the past, students in AP Art had to send their artwork in the mail to College Board to be judged and graded; some art contests also required art to be sent in like this. This may have resulted in lost or damaged art and is generally risky. However, this year, both the College Board and the Scholastic Art Awards have changed requirements to accept photos of art. Without the risk of losing something they had worked on for so long, students felt more open to enter the contest.

“I really harp on it in my Advanced Art Honors and my AP class and I know Mrs. [Lisa] Bolotte does the same thing in her Studio Art class, which is a full-year class as well,” Lampert said. “I was proud to see a lot of students decide to take that challenge and enter their work.”

For many WA artists, submitting their pieces has brought them new perspective when it comes to not only creating something they are proud of, but also receiving criticism.

This is one of the pieces submitted by junior Daanya Usmani.
“This piece was personal, done in colored pencil, of my sister waving with her hand in motion. All the warmth of the color and the warmth of her gesture played well together,” she said. (provided by Daanya Usmani)

“I kind of predicted that [my] piece would get some award at the least, but I was a little shocked to hear I received a Gold Key, as there are so many other talented artists alongside me,” Usmani said. “It took almost all of five days, day and night, I was hunched over my drawing trying to finish it to meet a deadline.”

According to Usmani, even though she does not plan to go to art school, she wants to keep doing art as a hobby and make something out of it. Submitting their winning pieces served as a way for other artists to gauge how their skills have progressed as well.

“I really just wanted to see if my pieces were any good,” Gupta said. “I was surprised that I won but not because I am an underclassman; the thing I like about this competition is that it doesn’t matter what grade you are in. It’s more about the skill you show in your piece, and being young doesn’t make it harder to show that skill, in my opinion.”