Teens showcase excellent art

Published 7:47 pm Saturday, February 10, 2018

Young Suffolk artists had the chance to show off their skills and compete against other high school aged students at the Exhibit of Excellence: Suffolk Student Art 2018.

Students from King’s Fork, Lakeland and Nansemond River high schools, Nansemond-

Suffolk Academy and homeschooled students submitted 264 artworks to be juried.


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Leigh Anne Chambers, executive director at Rawls Museum Arts in Courtland, was the juror, and she selected 131 artworks for the show. Chambers is also a practicing artist working in mixed media.

“We do pay jurors to pick winners, and we try and choose one with a background in art history or a curator in the fine art world,” said Linda Bunch, Suffolk Art League Executive Director.

Chambers not only helped select the participants for the art show, but she also selected juror’s choice awards, honorable mentions, first place, second place, third place and best in show.

“It’s an opportunity to see other students and other schools,” said Bunch. “This also helps them learn to prepare for art shows and follow the rules. It helps build confidence.”

Every student was expected to submit at least two works to be judged, and after juror selection, 108 students were selected to participate in the art show.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student, Kate Dewing, took home best in show for two of her submissions. Many of her classmates left with plenty of awards, including Yuran “Theodore” Zhang, who took home second place for two submissions as well.

Sydney Kania, from Nansemond River, took home first place for one of her submissions, and Tatiyahna Blakely, from Lakeland, won third place for her submission.

Five students walked away with honorable mention ribbons, and seven students won juror’s choice.

Students attended the opening ceremony with their teachers for a chance to take home their awards and observe the other students’ artwork.

“We prepare them for greatness, and we take it seriously. We plan on making the greatest artwork we can,” said Nansemond River art teacher Brian Kershasky. “We did really well, and we had a great showing.”

Part of doing well in an art show is subjective, and it really depends on being able to tap into a juror’s senses, Kershasky said.

“The kids learn that it’s not the gallery’s job to put it up for them,” said Nansemond-Suffolk Academy art teacher, Melody Boone. “They get real world experience.”