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WHs artists' accolades pile up

A total of 29 Woodbury High School students received 49 Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards. Winning works will be on display at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul Feb. 7 to March 3.

Bringing home multiple awards from the Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards contest has become a regular accomplishment for Woodbury High School art students.

But this year students surprised even themselves by receiving a total of 49 awards, the most ever awarded to a District 833 high school.

A total of 24 students received awards for individual works or art portfolios.

"We were very shocked and very excited that our students received this recognition," WHS art teacher Karen Seashore said. "They're just a talented group of kids."

A total of 200,000 submissions were submitted to this year's Scholastic Art Awards.

There are three levels of awards: the Gold Key is awarded for excellence, the Silver Key is awarded for high honors and Honorable Mention is for honors.

Gold Key recipients will have their work submitted to the National Scholastic Art Awards.

The Scholastic Art Awards represents Minnesota's largest statewide opportunity to recognize creative and artistic teenagers. A jury of 13 art instructors from around the country selected the award winners.

All individual pieces and portfolios that received Gold Key awards will be on display Feb. 7 through March 3 at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul.

Silver Key and Honorable Mention recipients will have their work displayed digitally at the exhibit.

The criteria that judges look at include quality, imagination, creativity, personal vision and uniqueness.

Seashore said something that helped with the WHS' students' success is that all but six of the students are enrolled in the advanced placement studio art class.

As part of the class, Seashore requires all students to submit at least one piece.

"Artists need to be able to put their work out there for others to see," she said.

The recipients

The WHS students who received Gold Key awards for individual works include: Kayla Doherty, Heather Hatfull, for two pieces, Meagan Kaufenberg, Katie Molnau and Eddie Rudie.

Students who received Silver Key awards for individual works are: Omotayo Famodu, Erin Griffin, Meagan Kaufenberg with two awards, Sarah Masood with two awards, Kinsey Philips, Nuel Pilien with two awards, Eddie Rudie with two awards, Carlie Volbrecht, Leah Williams, Jacqueline Younggren and Rachel Younggren.

Students who received Honorable Mention awards are: Madeline Collins, Anthony Doreo, Omotayo Famodu with two awards, Max Golden, Erin Griffin, Nicole Gutzmann, Brenton Holiday, Meagan Kaufenberg with two awards, Mike Lund, Marielle Mateo, Ellen O'Connell with five awards, Nuel Pilien, Eddie Rudie, Leah Williams with two awards and Jacqueline Younggren.

Additionally, students received awards for portfolios, which include eight pieces of work.

Gold Key awards for portfolios were given to Kayla Doherty and Heather Shumaker.

Silver Key awards for portfolios were given to Grant Anderson, Leah Williams and Jacqueline Younggren.

An Honorable Mention award for her portfolios was awarded to Nicole Gutzmann.

East Ridge High School students also received Scholastic Art Awards this year.

Two East Ridge students earned the Silver Key for works of art: Katie Thoreson and Jenny Zhu.

Three East Ridge students received Honorable Mention awards for individual works: Gwen Riemenschneider, Jake Sullivan and Jenny Zhu.

An expression of art

The WHS art students who received awards this year said they all enjoy art for different reasons.

Doherty, who brought home two Gold Keys, said she was drawn to art because it allows her to express herself.

"Art is really nice because you can express yourself in a lot of different ways," she said. "There's really no wrong point of view."

Doherty works primarily in ceramics.

"I really like the ceramics aspect of art because you get to use your hands a lot more," she said.

Doherty said she likes to incorporate nature elements into her ceramics.

For example, one of the pieces she won a Gold Key award for was a bowl in the style of birch bark, including tree rings.

Doherty also submitted several raku pieces, which were fired outside and used horsehair.

"I like conventional items, but I like bringing aspects of nature into them," she said.

Shumaker, a senior who also received two Gold Key awards, said she was drawn to photography because of how permanent it can be.

"I like how you can make something that stands there forever," she said. "You can capture an image and you'll always have it."

Shumaker said she usually looks for ways to make the ordinary extraordinary in her photographs.

"I take a lot of ordinary things and try and make them unusual and different perspective," she said.

Hatfull, who won two Gold Key awards for a drawing of a skeleton and a portrait drawing, said art can be a release.

"For me art is really a release of tension and emotion," she said.

Rudie, who received a Gold Key award for his photograph of an oil lamp, mirrored Hatfull's sentiments.

"What I think of when I think of art is just ways to express myself," he said.

Anderson, who won a Silver Key award for his portfolio, said for him art is about the story.

"What really drives me in art is the storytelling side of it," he said. "With simple images, you can really convey a lot of messages."

The Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards Exhibit will be Feb. 7 to March 3 at the College of Visual Arts, 344 Summit Ave. St Paul.

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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