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Chameleon takes top art prize

Julia Hayden, a senior at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, won Best in Show in the 28th annual Young Artists and Young Authors Showcase hosted by Suffolk Sister Cities. The exhibit, featuring more than 70 pieces of art and written works, is on view at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts through the end of this month.

Julia Hayden, a senior at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, won Best in Show in the 28th annual Young Artists and Young Authors Showcase hosted by Suffolk Sister Cities. The exhibit, featuring more than 70 pieces of art and written works, is on view at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts through the end of this month.

The theme of the show was “Peace through People,” but it was a chameleon that stole the show at the 28th annual Young Artists and Young Authors Showcase hosted by Suffolk Sister Cities.

Julia Hayden won best in show for her mixed-media work featuring a funky-colored chameleon in front of a yellow background. The awards were announced at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts on Tuesday night.

Hayden, a senior at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, said she was doing the piece for fun when it suddenly struck her that it fit the theme of the contest.

“This chameleon is standing out from his environment and making a difference in his world,” she said, adding that all people can be chameleons in one way or another.

This is the 28th year of the contest, which displays work created by local students.

Hayden, as well as the poetry and essay winners — Tabitha LaPointe of King’s Fork High School and Dante Copeland of Lakeland High School, respectively — will go on to the next level of the contest.

Eventually, their work could be displayed on an international level. Last year, of 16 finalists in the highest level of the competition, three were from Suffolk.

“We’re always impressed with the quality of the work,” said Brenda Kincaid, the student contest chairman with Suffolk Sister Cities. “We appreciate the teachers who encourage their students to participate. It’s an opportunity for our students to exhibit their art and also through the process to learn about Sister Cities.”

Suffolk Sister Cities has relationships with its British namesake, Suffolk County, England, and with Oderzo, Italy, whence Amedeo Obici emigrated as a boy and later went on to found Planters Peanuts and establish a hospital in Suffolk.

More than 50 pieces of art and more than 20 poems and essays were entered in the exhibit. The poems and essays are available to read in notebooks in the same room as the artwork.

The work will remain on view through April 29 and will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is located at 110 W. Finney Ave.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Essay

  • First place: Dante Copeland, Lakeland High School

Poetry

  • First place: Tabitha LaPointe, King’s Fork High School
  • Second place: Kree Pace, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Third place: Jordan Houston, Nansemond Suffolk Academy
  • Honorable mention: Anna Grace Towler, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Painting

  • First place: Cedric Holley, King’s Fork High School
  • Second place: Tori Lavallee, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Third place: Eleanor Burcham, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Honorable mention: Tyshana Mack, King’s Fork High School

Drawing

  • First place: Anni Groves, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Second place: Cole Dignard, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Third place: Nathan Soper, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Honorable mention: Maggie More, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Honorable mention: Yuqiao “Helena” Hu, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Mixed Media

  • First place: Alli Johnson, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Second place: Emily Mason, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Third place: Caitlyn Hannah, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Honorable mention: Clare Kelly, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Photography/Computer Art

  • First place: Halie McConnell, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Second place: Dominick Claxton, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Third place: Michael Hughes, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Honorable mention: Kaya Kettles, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Best in Show

  • Julia Hayden, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy