November 30, 2021

Outstanding artists get notice in 2020 CNY Scholastic contest

The teens behind the art

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Alexandria Garrow at Cortland High’s computer lab in the art department

Celine Wang said it’s one thing to do a portrait of another person. But to do a self-portrait takes a change in perspective.

“You can picture yourself a certain way. It’s hard to capture what you see and what other people see,” said the 17-year-old Homer Senior High School student. “Well like, for me … it’s like when you hear your voice (for the first time on a recording). Then it’s like, ‘Oh.’”

Artwork provided by Scholastic

Celine Wang, a senior at Homer Senior High School, made “Reflection,” a self-portrait, working her darks and lights in the piece.

Central New York Scholastic Art Award competition judges had their own idea when they saw Wang’s self-portrait, “Reflection.” They gave her a gold key, or first place, for the realistic drawing in the 2020 awards. The competition honors exceptional teen art work. It is hosted by Onondaga Community College and is sponsored by M&T Bank.

“I was shocked, honestly,” Wang said. “I thought I would get something. I didn’t think I would get a gold key.”

Organizers looked at 4,650 pieces of work from a 13-county region in Central New York for the contest. More than 1,370 works won a gold key, the highest honor, or silver key or honorable mention, according to a release from Scholastic officials.

The work can be seen through Feb. 28 at OCC’s Whitney Applied Technology Center.

The program, founded by Scholastic in 1923, is the largest annual student art competition in the United States. Students are also considered for national awards through the event. Last year, Central New York saw 26 national winners.

Brian Wallace, Homer High art teacher, said Scholastic has increased the number of entries allowed, but the show is still giving out the same number of honors. That makes it harder to win.

And schools in Cortland County are going up against larger schools like Jamesville-Dewitt with bigger art programs, he said.

To get any recognition at all is an honor, art teachers say, and doing well at the Scholastic Art Competition can help teens applying for college.

“It’s like going to states for football,” Wallace said.

The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse will also display select works March 7 through April 5.

Wang plans to use art for personal use later.

“I want to be able to draw family portraits when I am old,” Wang said. “I think it’s important. It’s taught me a lot of things: Take in the moment. I like to go, go, go. For art, it lets me sit down and relax.”

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Celine Wang with a portrait she did of a friend

Charlotte Wallis’ trip to England has been front and center in all of her art works at Homer this year.

“My dad is British. I was born in England,” said the 16-year-old 10th-grader.

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Charlotte Wallis holds a painting of a building she saw in England;

Her chalk drawing, “Sea Shore,” reflects a part of England on the coast.

In England, they have colorful little beach huts, she said. She captured a row of them with the ocean, the sky, as well as the seagrass in the piece, which brought her a gold key.

“I was impressed,” Wallis said. “I normally get an honorable mention. But I didn’t know that I would score that high.”

She had to portray specific detail, which is hard with chalk.

“I wanted to find a way to make it realistic,” she said.

Hailey Knight, 16, an 11th-grader at Homer who wants to be an illustrator, got a gold key for her drawing of a lionfish she saw in a Riverhead marina.

Artwork provided by Scholastic

Hailey Knight’s lion fish she calls “Diving Deep.”

“This is my first year getting any awards. I was honestly amazed. For the past several years, I have been looking forward to getting an award and this year, finally, I got one. I wanted the detail to pop out in the fish. It just seems like a cool photo.”

Her teacher, Brian Wallace, used to be a commercial artist before he became an art teacher.

“I had an idea of what drawing was,” said Knight. “He pointed me in the right direction.”

It takes more time to make a drawing than expected, he told her: “With detail, every part has its own importance.”

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Hailey Knight and an image she created at Homer High School

Even a tattoo won. Alexandria Garrow, 17, a senior at Cortland, was designing a tattoo for her mom. She entered the digital art work, which brought home a gold key.

She took a photo of her sketch, transferred it to a program called MediBang and came up with the design, a tiger head on a sword, with a mouth full of rose petals.

“At the Mercy of the Cats” provided by Scholastic

Alexandria Garrow made this graphic design, “At the Mercy of the Cats.”

“I like it. It’s two months old now. I see things where I could have done better,” she said. “I’m pretty proud.”

Garrow will attend SUNY Oswego for zoology and art. She is taking art as independent study and posts her work on social media. As for the image for her mom: “She is going to get this tattooed.”

The artists


Gold Key: Alexandria Garrow, digital art.

Silver Key: Logan King, sculpture; Geoff Marsted,
architecture & industrial design.

Honorable Mention: Dennis Topchiy.


Gold Key: Hailey Knight, drawing & illustration; Charlotte Wallis, drawing and illustration; Celine Wang, drawing and illustration.

Silver Key: Brittani Corson, photography; Morgan Edwards, sculpture; Matthew Fagerheim, drawing and illustration; Madison Hanford, jewelry; Hannah Howe, drawing and illustration (2); Faith Howell, drawing and illustration; Mia Husch, drawing and illustration; Becky Jones, sculpture; Hailey Knight, drawing and illustration; Arieliz Morales, drawing and illustration; Bailey Webster, drawing and illustration.

Honorable Mention: Kayla Crump, Callum Husch (4), Becky Jones, Ashley Kidder, Hailey Knight, Kayleigh Moss, Makayla Neilson, Paris Petrella, Katelyn Vogel, Bailey Webster.

Portfolio, Honorable Mention: Makayla Neilson

OCM BOCES McEvoy Campus

Silver Key: Alice Parmiter, comic art.

Honorable Mention: Gillian Wintermute.