LA GRANGE – Lyons Township High School made its presence known at the exclusive Scholastic Art Awards with an impressive collection of student work.
Sixty of the school’s submitted pieces were accepted, with five students having multiple pieces in the show. Additionally, one student received one of five American Vision Awards and the school received a total of 18 Gold Keys to identify exemplary work.
The Scholastic Art Awards accept and judge pieces on their thought, technique and execution. Works can range from paintings to drawings, prints and dried-point, which is an etching into plexiglass.
The work was displayed at a recent regional exhibition show at Downers Grove North High School, and now an even more narrow selection will be made for the pieces. Those selections will go to New York for a national show.
In mid-March, Lyons Township will find out if it has been accepted into the New York showcase, something the high school’s AP/advanced drawing teacher, Patrick Page, and his students will be eager to hear.
“It’s crazy to get something to New York,” Page said. “It’s really hard to do.”
Standing out from a pool of more than 1,200 students nationwide, Lyons Township’s showing at the Scholastic Art Awards is not something that Page takes lightly.
“It’s a big process to send things to [Scholastics],” Page said. “It’s a tough show to get pieces in. Only about 30 percent of work submitted gets into the show.”
The submission process is something that Page’s students work on diligently throughout the year. His students sent 90 pieces to the show. Page believes the process is beneficial for both students who are accepted and those who are not as it provides experience for students looking to pursue art beyond high school.
“We send a lot of our kids to art school, so they’re developing work throughout the year,” Page said. “The seniors develop a portfolio of work and an area of focus within that. Sometimes things get in and sometimes they don’t. Our big goal is that students produce good work, get better, and [this process] helps them for college.”
One of Page’s students looking to pursue art beyond Lyons Township is Madison Waliewski, 17. She had two prints, one silkscreen and one dried-point accepted into Scholastics, all of which were personal pieces dealing with issues of self-identity. Two of her pieces – a print titled “I Want to Love Myself” and a silkscreen titled “Harder and Harder” – were among her accepted works.
“Harder and Harder” depicts a girl sketched slouching against a wall with words scrawled around her, the first being, “Growing up always seems to get harder + harder.” Waliewski said the piece was about her friend and the struggles she’s been through.
Despite Scholastics’ penchant for her work, Waliewski was surprised to hear the news.
“I was honestly shocked,” she said. “It was a funny feeling because I think of myself as a painter, but none of my paintings got selected, which is completely fine. I was shocked it was my prints because they were pieces I did at the very end of the semester.”
Waliewski hopes to pursue art far beyond graduation day, perhaps in the form of graphic design.
“I don’t really see myself doing anything other than art, so I’m looking forward to studying it,” Waliewski said.