TELLURIDE – Ah Haa’s 2014 Youth Art Awards brought in over 120 submissions by public school students from Nucla, Naturita, Paradox, Norwood, and Telluride, as well as Telluride Mountain School students. Submissions ran the gamut from drawings and paintings to printmaking, ceramics and even video. All entries were featured in an April 3 art opening, during which this year’s award winners were announced.
“Judging so many outstanding submissions was a challenging task, to say the least,” said Ah Haa Curriculum Director Jessica Newens, who served as a juror along with Ouray-based artist and Ah Haa instructor Ann Cheeks. “We were impressed by the strength, originality, and artistic merit of so many students’ pieces, which made for some very difficult decisions. We feel our selections represent the strongest representation of these qualities.”
Best In Show went to Telluride High School 11th grader Sophia Durakis Green for her sculpture of a phoenix made from cardboard, paper, wire, acrylic paint, and hot glue. “I love the phoenix, the symbolism of their rebirth, how they’re made of fire, and the colors they’re composed of. I’ve painted them so many times, I wanted to build one,” said Durakis Green in her artist statement.
First place Youth Art Award winners were Telluride Middle School 8th grader Palmer Bixler (tempera still life painting of fruit); Telluride Mountain School students Esme Fahnestock (“The Blues,” multi-layer stencil self portrait) and Olivia Nogueira Wheaton (It’s No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk, acrylic self portrait), in 9th and 10th grade respectively, who tied for first; and Telluride High School 11th grader Marygrace Greene (“Clementine,” prismacolor pencil drawing of a pug).
Several Honorable Mentions were awarded in each grade category. Telluride Mountain School students Will Purcell, Rosalee P. Walsh, and Sarah Stell were 7th /8th grade honorees; Telluride High School students Sam Finger, Ebba Green and Tyler Jansen were 9th/10th grade honorees; and 11th/12th grade Honorable Mentions included Lizzy Vickers, (Norwood Public School), Brooke Skelton (Telluride High School), Christian Grammer, (Norwood Public School), Hannah K. Greene (Telluride High School), Edgar Luis Quiroz (Telluride High School), and Briana Santa Ana (Telluride High School).
Kids’ Choice awards went to Telluride High School’s Carson Brumley; Norwood High School’s Lizzy Vickers; and Telluride Mountain School’s Rosalee P. Walsh. All award winners received cash and/or gift certificates as prizes.
“Ultimately, we hope every student who participated in this show – award winners or not – will be inspired to continue their artistic endeavors and delve even deeper as they discover how powerful their voices can become through this type of creative expression,” said Newens.
This year’s Youth Art Awards were part of the a new Spring Youth Art celebration, showcasing youth art throughout the Telluride region, much of which was featured during April’s Art Walk, with shows at Baked in Telluride, Rustico and Telluride Arts’ Stronghouse gallery. Ah Haa’s Youth Art Awards show remains on display in the Daniel Tucker Gallery until the end of April. The public is encouraged to stop by and view the students’ work. Spring Youth Art wraps up with the much-anticipated Telluride Public School’s Student Art Show, which opens Thursday, May 8 in the Palm Theatre lobby.
Ah Haa would like to thank Just For Kids Foundation for helping to fund the exhibit and the 2014 Spring Youth Art festivities, as well as We R-1, and participating school art instructors Craig Wasserman, Jennifer Morgan, Abby Hamblin, Abigail Mahlin, Sara Cooper, Naomi Marshall, and Klara Lapp. For more about the annual Youth Art Awards and this year’s winners, visit ahhaa.org.