A Fairfax County student is among 56 artists — and the youngest of the group — to be chosen for a Smithsonian Institution exhibit on the National Mall.
The work of Maya Chung, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, is being featured in the Artists at Work exhibition on display at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center. Chung is a volunteer at the museum’s Q?rius scienceeducation lab.
There were 170 entries submitted to the juried show, which “underscores the often hidden talents within the Smithsonian community,” the museum said.
At 17, Chung was the youngest artist selected. Her winning entry was a black ballpoint pen drawing that took her 15 hours to compose, titled “Persea Borbonia” (Redbay), a type of laurel plant native to the South.
The work, inspired by a Smithsonian botanical sample, resembles a scientific drawing, which Chung said she is familiar with as a volunteer at Q?rius, where she has mounted invertebrate specimens gathered from vents deep on the ocean floor. She also drew anatomically correct sketches that the museum uses for reference, Chung said.
“I think that scientific drawing is the best of both worlds,” she said. “You are engaged creatively, artistically and academically.”
Art is also relaxing, said Chung, who does not take art classes at TJ, as the magnet school is known. The school draws some of Northern Virginia’s brightest minds in science, technology, engineering and math. In the fall, Chung will attend Harvard University, where she plans to study physics.
“When I draw or paint, I feel really, really calm,” said the McLean resident. “It’s a nice break from the stress of TJ.”
Chung previously won a Scholastic Art Awards contest for a self-portrait titled “The Unseen.”
The Artists at Work exhibition runs through May 1 at the Ripley Center, located on the Mall near the Smithsonian castle.