The 2021 Scholastic Art Awards

Anna Saputo

In a world filled with shapes, strokes and colors, the Scholastic Arts program acknowledges original, award-winning artworks created by secondary students within the Michigan eastern thumb area each year.

The Scholastic Award ceremony on March 8 was virtual this year, which affected everyone involved.

“I have been working with Scholastics for 21 years and I think that it was great that Scholastics was able to do something virtual this year,” Ford art teacher Amy May said. “The students who got art into the show and the students who received honors and awards were able to have their recognition. However, I am sad for the students that it was not in person. There is something exciting about walking across the stage and having that recognition and seeing your work hang in a gallery. There is something inspiring about looking at other student’s works. I hope that next year we are able to have a live show again.”

Experimentation in one’s art and exploring others’ as well helps to broaden an artist’s horizons.

“Seeing any work of art, I see the days dedicated, perplexed states, epiphanies and the silly stories behind a passion-fueled project,” Utica senior Renee Cilluffo, Gold Keys, Honorable Mention and American Vision awardee for Drawing & Illustration and Photography, said. “This inspires me to create and sometimes find a solution to my own puzzled states. On top of all that, it can tell a story concisely no matter the medium or can serve a functional purpose; like all the things we use on a day-to-day basis. Though that realization only comes within a certain audience, I hope that I achieve at least one of those roles to whoever sees my creations.”

Student devotion to art can help in their growth and success for the future.

“I live to make art, it is the one thing that really fulfills me,” Eisenhower senior Thomas Dilger, Gold and Silver Key awardee for Photography and Film & Animation, said. “I am the happiest I can be when I am working on a new film or printing in the darkroom. I am planning on attending the Savannah College of Art & Design to pursue a degree in Film. Hopefully, I can direct my own films someday. Art can be an escape for others, an outlet for their creativity. I think everyone would be better off if they had a way to express themselves creatively. Making something only you can make and at your own pace is pretty therapeutic.”

The guidance of an art teacher is greatly appreciated by the students who always seek to improve their craft.

“My most recent teacher, Mrs. Allore [Jennifer, Utica art teacher] has been super encouraging with helping me bring my ideas to life in my AP drawing portfolio,” Utica junior Cordelia Kraus, Gold Key awardee in Drawing & Illustration and Silver Key in Painting, said. “Whenever I have a really complicated “out-of-the-box” idea, she is always there with 10 different solutions and materials to help get me started. Overall, I am just really thankful I have had the chance to have such amazing mentors help me throughout the years.

Some advice was given to artists who may feel nervous about sharing their artwork and receiving judgement.

“Everyone feels self-conscious about their work,” Ford art teacher Lisa Grunewald, organizer of the thumb region ceremony, said. “Sharing your own artwork makes everyone feel vulnerable. The great thing about art is there is not a right or wrong way to do it. It is all in the eye of the beholder. Art is another language we speak to communicate to each other and to process things in life. It invokes critical thinking and problem-solving strategies that can be used in the future. Embrace it. Keep going and keep trying. The more you work at it, the better you will become.”