Art is key

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Abby Jay

Alexandra Franz, ‘23, works on a self portrait during her AP Studio Art class, using a selfie for reference. Franz worked in watercolor, which she developed as her specialty this year. “A lot of people think [watercolor is] hard, but there’s a wildness to it that is fun to try to tame that I really enjoy,” Franz said.

In the 2020 National Scholastic Art Competition, the WHHS Art Department had the best showing in WHHS history; eighty five student works received either a Gold Key award, Silver Key award or Honorable Mention at regionals.
“The National Scholastic Art Awards are the highest award in national scholastics. It’s for superior artwork. Very few people get Golden Keys, some get Silver, and more get Honorable Mentions,” WHHS art teacher, Donald Stocker, said.
The Scholastic Art Awards are a multimedia competition, which are separated into 17 categories based upon the submission’s medium. WHHS students won awards in eight of the 17 categories: Architecture & Industrial Design, Digital Art, Drawing & Illustration, Film & Animation, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Portfolio.
Nineteen WHHS student submissions were awarded a Gold Key in the Regional Scholastic Art Awards, which were announced at the beginning of January. The regional awards included student artists from Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana.

It’s more about meeting a goal than it is about recognition for me”

— Alexandra Franz, ‘23

Of the 85 WHHS awards, one student stands out among the recipients: Alexandra Franz, ‘23. With her talent cultivated by her artist parents and the environment they created, Franz developed her art style and won a total of 21 awards and recognitions at the 2020 Regional Scholastic Art Awards competition, including six Gold Key awards.

Franz is no stranger to the Scholastic Art Awards, as she has submitted artwork for all three years she has been in the WHHS art program. As an seventh grader, she won 10 awards at the regional level. Then, as an eighth grader, she won 19.

The 2020 Regional Scholastic Art awards are her best showing yet, and she’s only a freshman. Franz hopes to qualify for the Nationals of the Scholastic Art Awards, something she hasn’t been able to do in the past years.
“It’s more about meeting a goal than it is about recognition for me,” Franz said.

Beyond the Gold Keys, Silver Keys and Honorable Mentions, there is one more recognition that Franz received at the regional competition: American Visions Nominee.
The American Visions Medal is the highest regional award, in which five works are nominated from the regional competition by local judges. A panel of jurors in New York City choose one work from each region to give the American Visions Medal.
The nomination is an impressive and prestigious award in itself, but Franz didn’t even know it existed, let alone what it meant for her to be nominated.

“I didn’t even think about it, so it’s sort of a nice surprise,” Franz said.

Abby Jay
Eve Tryby, ‘21, admires her fellow artists’ works at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where all of the awarded works of the Regional Scholastic Art Competition will be on exhibit until Feb. 21. Tryby herself was awarded a Silver Key award for her painting of a young Tony Hawk.

Iris Andrews, ‘21, won an Honorable Mention for her piece “An Abandoned Fairy House.” She admitted that she had a little trouble in the start as far as inspiration. But as soon as she had her inspiration she knew where to go.
“I did a piece of my friend Sarah, who I took a picture of when she was a kid, and sort of turned her into a fairy,” Andrews said.
With a similar magical theme, SENIOR Gabrielle Chiong won a Gold and two Silver Keys. The piece that was awarded Gold Key for was called “The Little Match,” and the two Silver Keys she got were for another piece called “Cinderella” and a portfolio named “A Satire on Classic Fairy Tales.”
“It was a good feeling that I got an award for doing art because I haven’t really gotten an award before,” Chiong said, “I just chose certain elements and tried to put them in a different sort of light that people don’t really like see in the usual tellings.”
The turnout of recognition and awards for WHHS students at the Scholastic Art Awards seems to improve every year, and as the art department grows and expands, it’s exciting to see what our creative students will do next.