Sunday, September 25, 2022

High School Students Inspire at This Century Art Gallery Show

A visitor the awards ceremony Wednesday for This Century Art Gallery’s high school show, with the second place piece, “Self Portrait,” by Sophie Maize (Hannah S. Ostroff/WYDaily)
A visitor to the awards ceremony Wednesday for This Century Art Gallery’s high school show admires the second place piece, “Self Portrait,” by Sophie Maize. (Hannah S. Ostroff/WYDaily)

The judges of This Century Art Gallery’s annual high school show are ready to sign up for lessons with their teenage counterparts.

“We see the vibrancy and the newness of your work, and it’s extraordinary,” said Ginny Fisher, one of two judges who announced awards at a full-house reception Wednesday evening.

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This Century Art Gallery High School Student Show

Ginny Fisher and Sharon Parker, Judges

First Place: Haley Benson Ellis, Warhill
Second Place: Sophie Maize, Jamestown
Third Place: Suzie Kang, Jamestown

Merit Awards
Caitlin Marie Jones, Warhill
Althea Allen, Warhill
Lindsay Atkins, Jamestown
Taylor Meredith, Lafayette
Kara Prince, Williamsburg Christian Academy
Delaney Savedge, Lafayette
Kathryn Tomczak, Lafayette
Anthony White, Lafayette

Honorable Mention
Cailin Reed Agnello
Savannah Barnett, Warhill
Serenity Chavez, Lafayette
Isabel R. Contreras, Jamestown
Joshua Curtis, Lafayette
Grace Dowdy, Warhill
Erin Forgit, Warhill
Yubin Kang, Jamestown
Rebecca Alene Kufro, Jamestown
Eleanor Jennifer Patrinely, Warhill
Chrisanthi Nicole Prassas, Warhill
Nicole B. Richardson, Warhill
Abigail Shostak, Jamestown
Danielle Smith, Bruton
Lane Stephens, Lafayette
Dexter Wang, Walsingham Academy

People’s Choice
Haley Benson Ellis, Warhill

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Where 30 to 50 pieces usually line the walls of the gallery, the space is now chockablock with nearly 150 works of art – paintings and sculptures, self-portraits and photography – all from fresh, young artists brimming with potential.

Tempy Barbru, executive director of TCAG, said it is the most inspiring show she has ever seen.

Her eyes welling with tears as she took in the artwork and the smiles throughout the event, Barbru said the program lets her see the world through the eyes of a young artist.

“When we grow up, we sometimes lose our ability to perceive creativity and passion in unusual things,” she said.

In addition to filling her with awe at the powerful vision of local youth, Barbru sees the show as a way to encourage the next generation of artists to follow their dreams.

“I think it’s critically important we keep this going,” she said.

The show continues to be full of new surprises and interesting innovation, 12 years running. Barbru said the unending creativity is fostered in part by the teachers from the six participating schools, who support students along the way and give their time to selecting the work to appear in the show.

For 2015, it featured 103 local high-schoolers — from Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools, Bruton High School in the York County School Division, Walsingham Academy and Williamsburg Christian Academy — with the judges giving out 27 awards.

One, a people’s choice prize, is selected by TCAG members during their preview Monday night.

Haley Benson Ellis, of Warhill High School, said she values the people’s choice award more than first place, but she took home both Wednesday.

“It’s quantity of people over just two judges, so I’m flattered when I win that one,” she said of the people’s choice honor, which she collected last year as well for a charcoal drawing.

Haley Benson Ellis, a senior at Warhill High School, with "Packaged" (Hannah S. Ostroff/WYDaily)
Haley Benson Ellis, a senior at Warhill High School, with “Packaged” (Hannah S. Ostroff/WYDaily)

This year members honored her “Slow,” a long vertical watercolor painting, while the judges selected her for her body of three pieces in the show.

A senior planning to pursue art as a career — Ellis has already started a mural painting business — she said the support of adults and strangers gives her confidence as she presses ahead with a creative future. She made her first gallery sale, for “Slow,” as part of the show.

Ellis was among the winners who received a cash prize as well, sponsored for the third year by Chesapeake Bank.

This Century Art Gallery will host the high school show through Feb. 13 at 219 N. Boundary St. The gallery is open 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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