Early next month, a group of professional artists, art educators and professional writers will get together at California University of Pennsylvania to compare notes and select gold, silver and merit award winners in the annual Southwestern Pennsylvania Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition.
Once those determinations have been made, the works of the artists will be on display through early February at the university.
What makes this exhibit especially captivating and why we strongly urge the public to view it is that all the pieces will have been created by middle or high school students from Greene, Washington and Fayette counties.
To say we have been impressed after having viewed the art and read some of the stories, poetry and essays over the last nine years would be an injustice to the students’ creativity. We have been awed by the mature reflections set to a poetic rhythm and by such powerful imagery and description that left us wondering how a ninth-grader could know such things.
We marveled at what the students saw through a camera’s lens and what their hands were able to put on a canvas.
The works that win gold keys will be sent to New York City to be scrutinized by panels of artists, writers and educators. Those who win silver keys and merit awards will receive certificates at the local awards ceremony.
Year after year, this competition renews our faith that education works when a spark in a student is ignited and left to burn by teachers capable of nurturing the creative spirit that exists in many students.
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition is just the beginning for many of these students. Greater things await them.