Fairfax Students Shine at National Art Contest

(Photos Courtesy Of Scott Saylor, Fairfax County Public Schools)
Thursday, March 22, 2007

Four Fairfax students won gold awards and one a Visions Award, the equivalent of best in show from the Fairfax region, in the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition in New York.

Seven students took silver awards -- two of them double winners, receiving silvers for two entries. The competition, which began in 1923, is sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers.

National awards went to 1,100 of more than 30,000 qualifying entries in both art and writing.

Fairfax County Public Schools serves as the regional organizer for all student art from the county -- private, public and home school. On Jan. 26, judges from the area spent a day winnowing the 1,400 sculptures, canvases, photos and other images from Fairfax County students and picking 113 for Gold Key awards. Digital images of those entries were sent to New York for the national judging.

Roger Tomhave, the system's coordinator for fine arts, pushed for and got the designation for the public schools to act as regional sponsor, which he figured would give the county's students a better chance. Getting entries organized, judged and sent to New York is a grueling process, say art administrators and teachers.

The frenzy of activity can pay off in terms of recognition, motivation and the potential for scholarships. Tomhave gave an example:

"I just returned from the National Art Education Association Conference in New York where two keynote speakers were world-renowned artist Audrey Flack, and Jack Lew, who is with the world's leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software.

"Both said their Gold Key recognition was instrumental in their decisions to go into visual art as a career path.

"In fact, Audrey Flack said she wore her award as a necklace for good luck each time she was asked to speak to an audience at the opening of an exhibition. She was wearing it during her speech."

He said of all the entrants, "We are very proud of the accomplishments of our visual arts students in Fairfax County. We sincerely hope that this recognition instills in them the confidence to achieve at ever greater heights in their career path."

The Fairfax Extra ran photos of some of the Gold Key entries on Feb. 15, and may run others during the rest of the school year if space allows.

All photos are courtesy of Scott Saylor, Fairfax County Public Schools.

Images of all Gold Key winners can be found at http://blog.washingtonpost.com/goldkey/


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