Suffolk students honored at Exhibit of Excellence

Published 10:46 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Abigail Ford spent several weeks working on her two art pieces that earned her the best-in-show award announced during Tuesday’s kickoff to the Exhibit of Excellence: Suffolk Student Art 2019 at the Suffolk Art Gallery.

But the 16-year old Nansemond River High School junior’s piece, “Different Sides of Me,” done in watercolor and ink, was largely finished in one overnight session.

Both pieces began as class assignments, but both are personal to her.

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“We had to do a watercolor portrait,” Ford said about “Different Sides of Me,” “and I basically just wanted to include a ton of song lyrics that are deep and dear to me, and that’s what I did in this one.” She pointed to her mixed media on newspaper piece, “Killer Queen.”

“I did Freddie Mercury as part of a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) assignment because he was like an icon to me, and I thought it was best to do a commemoration of him.”

Ford, who said she has been drawing as long as she could remember, was not expecting to win.

“I was really surprised,” Ford said about her award. “I didn’t think I would, but I’m really happy.”

The juried exhibition, presented by the Suffolk Art League in cooperation with the Suffolk Fine Arts Commission, featured 126 pieces of art from 92 Suffolk students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades at Lakeland, King’s Fork and Nansemond River high schools, as well as Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Suffolk Christian Academy and the Governor’s School of the Arts. The student art will be on display at the gallery through March 1.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior Addy Greene, 17, has only been involved in art since her freshman year. She wanted to take photos from magazines and turn them into one theme, and while her piece is predominantly black-and-white, the humorous part “pops” in color.

“With all of the incredible art pieces here, it’s kind of crazy that mine got first,” Greene said.

Lakeland High School senior Destiny Kirkpatrick, 18, said the inspiration for her batik piece, “Honor,” came from her family’s Native American background, and from a character in the movie “Zorro.” Initially, she didn’t feel positive about how she had done, but she was pleasantly surprised by her second-place award.

“I was really feeling down at the time, and both of my pieces got in, so I’m really grateful,” Kirkpatrick said. “And this is my favorite piece that I’ve done lately.”

Elijah Gent of King’s Fork High School and the Governor’s School of the Arts, took third place for his acrylic work titled “Thirsty.”

Barbara Hennig-Loomis, who juried the competition, said she chose the award-winners and the pieces in the exhibition based on whether they were innovative, the technical skill displayed and craftsmanship.

Hennig-Loomis told the student artists not only to know their strengths but also to wade into their weaknesses, as she said that is where their greatest growth will take place.

“To all of you, to include the award winners,” Henning-Loomis said in addressing the students in attendance at the opening of the exhibit, “keep up the good work, but don’t repeat yourselves just because your approach worked this time.”

The Suffolk Art Gallery is located at 118 Bosley Ave. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.


Exhibit of Excellence: Suffolk Student Art 2019

Best in Show: Abigail Ford, “Different Sides of Me,” watercolor and ink, and “Killer Queen,” mixed-media on newspaper, Nansemond River High School

First place: Addy Greene, “Oh Baby,” collage (cut paper), Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Second place: Destiny Kirkpatrick, “Honor,” batik, Lakeland High School

Third place: Elijah Gent, “Thirsty,” acrylic, King’s Fork High School and Governor’s School for the Arts


Honorable mentions

  • Martina Viola, “Coffee Shop,” cut paper, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Evie Nhi Triuh, “Candace,” photography, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Morgan Veselicky, “A Sea’s Night,” watercolor, King’s Fork High School
  • Lexie Yeatts, “Hubba Bubba,” batik and embroidery, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Natalie Mahler, “Happiness,” ink and marker, Nansemond River High School


Juror’s choice

  • Mollie Blasdell, “Renior: 2019,” acrylic, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Emily Argust, “The Desk,” photography, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • SydneyLouzonis, “Genesis,” batik and embroidery, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Sarah Christiansen, “Duck Disaster,” clay, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy