The Wichitan

Local artists win big in annual high school show

Lane Riggs

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High school students, professors, teachers, parents, and gather around the High School student's art displays for the The Juanita Harvey Art Gallery: Opening Reception for High School Art Competition Feb. 6. Photo by Rachel Johnson

High school students, professors, teachers, parents, and gather around the High School student’s art displays for the The Juanita Harvey Art Gallery: Opening Reception for High School Art Competition Feb. 6. Photo by Rachel Johnson

The art on the walls invited spectators to understand not only art, but the artists behind the art, all competitors in this year’s high school art competition.

The talents of middle school and high school students on display at the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery illustrated talents and came to a close on Feb. 6 after the awards show for first, second, and third place winners in all areas. The Gallery was up since Jan. 25, allowing students and prospective students to look through the exhibit.

The art faculty, working with area scholastic art instructors, have put on this presentation annually for the past 25 years with faculty members judging the pieces. This year 120 students submitted 180 pieces of work to the competition, including some from out of the area and others from out of the state.

“The Gallery encourages artistic expression, and it promotes the making of art,” Ann Marie Leimer, chair and professor of art history, said. “The number of entrees that we had this year show that the reputation of the competition is growing.”

The gallery is open to students throughout Texas, but the big winners were Rider and Wichita Falls high schools.

“We had 20 kids enter the competition and about 15 wins,” Rider High School teacher Nancy Kizis said. “We encourage kids to enter every year because even if this school is small, it has the best art department.”

Larry Hamilton, retired art teacher, talks with his old students Jenna Ward, Rider student and first place winner in two categories, and Carli Ward, Rider student, and their mother, Paulette Baltrunas at The Juanita Harvey Art Gallery: Opening Reception for High School Art Competition. "I want to go to art school and graduate with a degree in illustration so I can go into chracter design," Ward Said. "[I attended today because] I wanted to see what my former students are still creating and basically providing us with all this fine art work," Hamilton said.

Larry Hamilton, retired art teacher, talks with his old students Jenna Ward, Rider student and first place winner in two categories, and Carli Ward, Rider student, and their mother, Paulette Baltrunas at The Juanita Harvey Art Gallery: Opening Reception for High School Art Competition. “I want to go to art school and graduate with a degree in illustration so I can go into chracter design,” Ward Said. “[I attended today because] I wanted to see what my former students are still creating and basically providing us with all this fine art work,” Hamilton said.

The department, in addition to praising the students for their art, hoped to also award them with scholarships.

“We award 15 scholarships on average,”  Siguru Hiraide, associate professor of art, said. “The scholarships are only for students coming here, and only art majors, but the highest amount we have awarded is $3,000.”

For students who need extra financial help, this scholarship is the perfect solution. However, though the school saw a lot of young students, the majority was not planning to attend the university, and even more students were not interested in majoring in art.

“I want to major in chemistry,” Therese Silknetter, a junior at Hirschi High School, said. “For me, art is just a hobby. It’s a nice break from everything else and a good stress reliever.”

A common theme between all of the students: a passion for art.

“I’ve loved making art ever since I could remember. It’s a personal thing,” senior at Wichita Falls Noe Alcantar said.

Of the three pieces Alcantar entered, only one was named an honorable mention. Most notable was his piece of a woman gazing at a mask she is holding in her hands.

“It’s called ‘Revelation’,” Alcantar said. “I went all out, because I was going through some stuff, and I just had a moment of ‘Revelation’. My pieces are more dark and meaningful.”

Jenohn Euland, a junior at Hirschi High School, and Silknetter, presented a wide array of themes, including time and religious persecution.

The competition also gave students the opportunity to enter different categories, something that established that the student’s creativity had no specific dimension.

Jasmine Barron, Old High student and contestant, looks at art work with her mother, Graciela Barron, during The Juanita Harvey Art Gallery: Opening Reception for High School Art Competition held on Feb. 6 in Fain Fine Arts. "I just really like [doing art] as a hobby. It makes me relaxed and all my emotions and frustrations onto that piece," Barron said. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Jasmine Barron, Old High student and contestant, looks at art work with her mother, Graciela Barron, during The Juanita Harvey Art Gallery: Opening Reception for High School Art Competition held on Feb. 6 in Fain Fine Arts. “I just really like [doing art] as a hobby. It makes me relaxed and all my emotions and frustrations onto that piece,” Barron said. Photo by Rachel Johnson

One of Silknetter’s second place winners was a dragon made of paper leaping off the pages of a book. The dragon embodied her vision.

“It was originally a dragon off Harry Potter, and I thought of it during lunch,” Silknetter said. “I like to think it resembles the creativity of the author popping out of the pages at you.”

College faculty gave out some 30 awards and Martin Camancho, dean of the Fain College of Fine Arts, praised the students.

“Your art will be preserved for a very long time,” Camancho said. “You are all winners today.”

The scholarship winners will be announced within the next few weeks.

 

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Local artists win big in annual high school show