By Aisha I. Jefferson
Mundy's Mill High School art teacher Patrice Newell scooted to the front of the room to receive the first place prize for the 13th Congressional District's Third Annual High School Art Competition.
Although Newell is not the winner and was there to represent 17-year-old Dean Beresford, she was smiling anyway.
"I am Dean's art teacher," she said. "This is our first year together. He has grown in leaps and bound in terms of his art this year. He is just incredible."
Beresford, a Mundy's Mill High junior, took home the top honor for his oil-based painting, "Girl."
Several people turned out for the reception, held Saturday at Arts Clayton Gallery in downtown Jonesboro, honoring all participating high school students. Participating high schools included Forest Park, Jackson, Jonesboro, Morrow, North Clayton, Mount Zion, Mundy's Mill, Riverdale, Creekside, Newton and Lovejoy. Thirteenth District U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Jonesboro, hosted the event.
As first place winner, Beresford was offered two scholarships, one, a $10,000 scholarship to the Art Institute of Atlanta and the second, a scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design worth $3,000 per year. He will be invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Washington, D.C., and winning art work will hang in the Cannon Tunnel for one year.
The second place winner, Jackson High School's Andrea Hawes, was offered a $5,000 scholarship from the Art Institute of Atlanta. Hawes' "The Beach" will be sent to Scott's Washington, D.C., office to hang for one year.
And Jonesboro High School's Tiffany Herrin came in third place and was offered a $2,000 scholarship from the Art Institute of Atlanta. Her mixed medium oil painting, "Jonah" will also hang in Scott's Jonesboro office for one year.
Scott said all of the participants' artwork will be showcased on his Web site.
"This competition gives these children an opportunity to display their talents and to be recognized and to basically give a medium for us to see," said Clayton County Commissioner Virginia Gray. "I think the congressman is absolutely wonderful to give them this opportunity."
Gray, along with commission chairman Eldrin Bell, attended the reception.
Professional artist and instructor Linda Pollok, and former high school art teacher Anne McCranie judged the competition.