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WHS senior wins first place for ceramic bust of The Dude

Woodbury High School senior Josh Kujawa will be capping off his senior year on a high note.

Kujawa recently received first place at the Phipps Center for the Arts' high school art show, which was held April 15 through May 7.

The art show was open to all high school-age students from western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. Students could submit one recent original artwork in any media for the annual exhibition.

"It's pretty cool. Art is super subjective, though," Kujawa said. "There were a lot of great pieces, so it really depends on the people looking at it."

Two other WHS students, juniors Jordan Bretwisch and Allison Westphal, also received honorable mentions during the Phipps' art exhibition with their photographs.

Kujawa won for a bust sculpture of Jeff Bridges' character in "The Big Lebowski," The Dude, Bretwisch won for a close-up photograph of a snowflake and Westphal won for a photograph of a leaf.

All three WHS students received ribbons as part of the exhibit.

Each student submitted artwork to the Phipps' art exhibit at the suggestion of their teachers.

"Ms. (Tricia) Schmidt just said I should submit The Dude," Kujawa said, "so I said OK."

While Bretwisch and Westphal are inspired by nature and shapes for their photographs, Kujawa is inspired by his passions.

"I just really love the movie and I love The Dude's whole vibe," he said. "It was either him or Hendrix.

"It's whatever comes to mind I guess at present."

Kujawa said he enjoys ceramics because it gives him to create something that is functional.

"I just like making stuff and getting surprised when it's finished to see how it turns out," he said. "Plus it's cool having a finished piece that you can actually use."

Westphal said she likes how art allows her to express herself.

"I like the individuality it gives me," she said. "It's kind of a sanctuary."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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