High-school artists excel in annual contest

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Young artists in Henry County recently got their moment in the spotlight, just as they have for nearly two decades.

The Henry Arts Alliance held a Winner’s Circle reception March 2 for participants in the group’s annual High School Arts Contest. Arts Alliance President Lynna Schmidt congratulated the students for their work and for pursuing their artistic passions.

Young artists and Henry Arts Alliance members are shown at a Winner’s Circle reception where the students were recognized for their participation in the annual High School Arts Contest. Special photo

“Every year I am amazed at the quality, talent and creativity that these young artists show us through their outstanding work,” said Schmidt. “I am especially proud of the art teachers in Henry County. They work hard to inspire this next group of young artists and the Henry County schools are lucky to have such a creative and dedicated group of teachers.”

For the 19th year, Henry Arts Alliance and the Visual Artists Collective invited students in local public and private high schools to submit art works for exhibit and judging. In all, 82 pieces of art were submitted, and members of the Visual Artists Collective selected Best in Show as well as First Place for 10th through 12th grades.

Eva Wilson, a senior at Locust Grove High School, was among the contest winners at Locust Grove High School, along with Sebastien Anderson, Taylor Phinney, Jessica Rojas and Lacey Brown. Wilson became enamored with art when she was in ninth grade. For the Arts Alliance’s contest, Wilson submitted a color photo of a lighthouse, which she changed to black-and-white.

“I took it while on a youth trip with my church as a memory from our trip,” explained Wilson. “When I heard I got an award of excellence, I was surprised. I've entered many contest just for fun and never actually won, so I was shocked and really excited.”

Wilson said she enjoys using her photography as a way to “preserve memories and moments in life.” She credited Rebecca Paine, her art teacher for the last three years, with helping her to learn better techniques to improve her photography.

“Best in Show” went to Logan Jones of the His Master’s Voice School of Music in Stockbridge, with teacher Glenda Wong, for Face of a Cat. Other winners by schools include: Caitlin Veseley, also of His Master’s Voice; Kennedy Thomas of Eagles Landing Christian Academy, with teacher Jana Caison; Faith Dickey of Eagles Landing High School, with teacher Jessica Gemmill; Obehi Uadiale and Jachovey Crockett of Hampton High School, with teacher Nan Wyatt; Isabella Cormier and Haley Hines of Ola High School, with teacher John Wood; and Ramona Doby of Stockbridge High School, with teacher Kyle Robertson.

The contest, since its inception, has been sponsored by Meadows & Macie, PC of Stockbridge, which provided monetary awards for contest winners. Schmidt expressed her appreciation for the firm’s continued support.

“We really couldn't continue the work we do for the visual and performing arts in the county if it weren't for the generous sponsorship of people like Rod Meadows and his firm,” said Schmidt. “I am also very proud of our Arts Alliance Board. People like Domini ReDarling, Keith Ellison, Moira Fisher and Gloria Hughes make this annual event a huge success. They, along with the art teachers, honor the young artists by working so hard to make the competition an important part of the arts education in the county.”

The Arts Alliance’s Secretary /Treasurer, Gloria Hughes noted that two of this year’s winners – Andersen and Rojas – are exchange students. She noted that the Arts Alliance uses the contest to encourage young artists to consider careers in the visual arts.

Hughes commended all of the participants for their work and the talent they displayed in the contest.

“I’ve now seen it for five years, and every year the quality of the work is improving,” said Hughes. “We see the winning work of the same teachers every year. The teachers come to our events and we see their enthusiasm for what their students have done.”

Others who lent their support for the contest included Keith Ellison of the Henry County Performing Arts Center, and Moira Fisher, president of the Visual Artists Collective, and Carolyn Fuller, director of the Henry County Public Library System.