Drawing attention

Art students receive recognition for works in contest


Hannah Gaines

With an eye for detail, senior Chloe Sotomayor works on a painting in AP Studio Art.

By Luna Stephens

Beginning a project, junior Riley Costlow works in Wendy Vertacnik’s AP Studio Art class seventh hour.
Photo by Hannah Gaines
Beginning a project, junior Riley Costlow works in Wendy Vertacnik’s AP Studio Art class seventh hour.

From New York to KU, art students have gotten the chance to showcase work while winning awards and cash in the process.

The art program has done especially well this year, winning awards in a variety of competitions.

“I am totally and completely excited and proud of these students,” photography teacher Angelia Perkins said. “I love the winning aspect, but even more than that, I am proud of students being willing to put themselves and their personal work out to be judged.”

The competitions opened options for students. Senior Kearston Mohney won second last year in the Mill Street Loft competition in New York and this year worked her way into the role of art editor of Graffiti Magazine, the student literary magazine.

“I like how [the art program] goes above and beyond,” Mohney said. “We’re very experimental and always trying new things. I like the multiple opportunities we get.”

Her photo “Shadowed” got a cash award for the Emergence competition at KU.

“The one that just got a cash award at KU, I really liked because we spray painted on them, so it was really experimental,” she said. “Also, I liked one that I got second in best in show last year in New York. That was a very conceptual one.”

Senior Rachel McNemee was among 15 LHS students accepted into the KU Exposure Gallery, and her set of a platter and two smaller plates “Over the Edge” got a $75 cash reward.

“I really like the first vase that I made,” McNemme said. “It was the first ceramic piece I’ve ever made in my life. It turned out really, really well, surprisingly. It’s been in competitions before, but it’s never won any awards.”

Senior Clara Lehr won in Emergence for her ring, the first she’s ever made, with a film reel bezel setting.

“It was like a history project — a history of you project,” she said. “So we were supposed to pick an icon or a simple thing that meant something to us, and that was my thing.”

Win or lose, students benefit from the experience of competing, Perkins said.

“There is always losing that goes with entering and all of them have encountered this as well,” Perkins said. “What they learn about perseverance, bias, varied interpretations, and even the basics of completing forms, rights of the artist, readability of handwriting, integrity of contests, how to address an envelope, et cetera goes beyond winning or losing.”

Students said the art program has given them opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

“I hadn’t really looked at photography as a career until I took this class,” senior Alice Kelsey said. “So it opened up my mind to the possibility of incorporating that into a professional area of work.”

And looking to the future is one of the reasons art teachers said they have students participate in contests.

“It’s so encouraging for students to realize that they are doing such good work,” ceramics and jewelry teacher Deena Amont said. “Some students realize that art is something that they want to pursue as a career because of the positive feedback they receive through contests.”