YOUNGSTOWN - Young artists from schools across a four-county region had their work displayed as part of the annual Scholastic Art Awards program Saturday at Youngstown State University.
Work of students attending middle and high schools in Trumbull, Ashtabula, Mahoning and Columbiana counties were judged by professional artists, YSU professors and retired art teachers for their originality, technical skill and an emergence of a personal voice or vision.
Scholastic Arts Awards have been identifying talented young people for their artistic expressions for more than 45 years. Nationally, the awards have been held for 93 years.
Photos Special to the Town Crier / Raymond L. Smith
Austintown Fitch High School student Jasmine Loyen, 17, a silver key winner, says she created a series of jester paintings that blend people with animal skulls. Her work was on display at the annual Scholastic Art Awards program Saturday at Youngstown State University.
The artists selected for the 2017 Northeastern Ohio Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition will remain on display through Jan. 27 in the Judith Rae Solomon Gallery on the second floor of Bliss Hall and in the Art Department on the fourth floor. The gallery is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
The Scholastic Art Awards program is the largest annual student art competition in the United States. Founded in 1927 by Scholastic Inc., the awards program is dedicated to recognizing the achievements of young artists. The program has recognized more than 13 million creative teenagers, including Andy Warhol and Robert Redford, in its 90-year history.
More than 520 Mahoning Valley students from 60 schools provided 850 individual works and 37 portfolios. The regional entries reflected the participating schools' outstanding student work. A panel of judges then selected works to receive honorable mention, silver and gold keys and five nominations for the prestigious American Visions Awards.
There were 71 gold keys and 146 silver keys in the showing.
The American Visions Award and gold key finalists will be reviewed and judged. The top student artists and their families will be sent to New York City to compete for awards and scholarships with other student entries from across in the nation in a Scholastic Arts national showcase .
"For a lot of these students, being chosen for this is their first major showing of their artwork," Warren G. Harding art teacher John B. Johnson said.
Photographs of the art is submitted for consideration by their art teachers. Judges do not know where the artwork comes from or the artist submitting the work.
"It is judged by originality, technical skill and personal vision," William Young, a former art teacher and an adviser with the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, said. "Just because something is submitted does not mean it will be a part of the program."
Judy Babik, a Lincoln PK-8 School teacher, said for young artists this may be the first time their work has been displayed at a show of this magnitude.
"This encourages students to strive to do their best work in everything they are doing," Babik said. "This can open their eyes to what is out here. They can see techniques they may not be familiar with and plant seeds to what they might be able to do."
Desiree Martinez, a first-year artist, was both surprised and excited she was recognized for an illustration about how people may be seeing themselves today.
"I want to do more art," Martinez said. "I mostly like working with digital photography."
Madison McGuire, 16, a junior at Niles Mckinley High School, was recognized for an illustration of a colorful building she saw while on vacation and earned a silver key.
"I've been drawing since I was in grade school," she said. "I've been in this show a couple times. I would love to do something with my art in the future."
Austintown Fitch High School student Jasmine Loyen, 17, likes doing jester paintings that blend real people with animal skulls.
"How the person sits tells me a lot about them," Loyen said. "This drawing of a friend of mine with a bird skull on his head shows a person that is confident in himself."
She has done a series of jester paintings of people with different kinds of skulls on their heads.
"I have this one that won a silver key and another recognized as an honorable mention piece," Loyen said. "I draw all of the time. It is something I began taking seriously two years ago."
Thomas Loyen, Jasmine's father, said they noticed she liked drawing at a very young age and did what they could to nurture her gifts. The family put her into an after-school program called Art Works and takes her to museums to see the works of other artists.
John Payiavlas, 18, a senior at Warren G. Harding, loves working with oils and doing portraits.
"I initially started doing doodling and sketching," Payiavlas said. "I grew into painting."
Payiavlas was encouraged not only by his family but also by teachers when he was in middle school and now in high school.
Payiavlas is considering attending The Parson School or New York University to further develop his skills.
Katia Mzehem, 14, an eighth-grade student at Lincoln PK-8 School in Warren, has been drawing and painting since she was 6 years old.
"It is the way I express myself," she said. "This is something I want to do as a career."
Mzehem has been inspired by the artwork she has seen her father do.