By Joel Hall
Arts Clayton gallery in Jonesboro has announced winners of the Sixth Annual 13th Congressional District High School Art Competition.
Four art students have divided $37,000 in academic scholarships to the Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD), and the Art Institute of Atlanta, after competition last weekend.
The winners were Rachel Ford, of Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs,
Andrew Sparks, of Alexander High School in Douglasville, Elisa Owens of Stockbridge High School, and Philip Hoffman, of Campbell High School in Smyrna.
Ford won first place for her Prismacolor pencil drawing entitled "Rachel." As the overall winner, Ford will have the option of choosing between a $20,000 ($5,000 a year for four years) scholarship to SCAD, or a one-time $10,000 scholarship to the Art Institute of Atlanta.
In addition, Ford's self-titled work will be displayed alongside winners from congressional art competitions across the country for the next year in the Cannon Tunnel at the nation's capitol.
Ford, a sophomore who hopes to design anatomical drawings for medical encyclopedias, said she was "in a state of shock," upon learning she won first place.
"When they said Hillgrove High School, I just about passed out," said Ford. "This is my first art show in my entire life. Just getting accepted to have my artwork shown in a gallery was huge, and winning it was insane."
Sparks won second place for his painting, "Old Downtown." Owens won third place for her black-and-white photo called "Creative Tools." Hoffman received an honorable mention for his penci-and-ink drawing called "Progression and Change."
The second- and third-place winners received $5,000 and $2,000 academic scholarships, respectively, to the Art Institute of Atlanta. The honorable mention winner received a certificate to attend any community and professional education workshop hosted by the Art Institute of Atlanta.
Congressman David Scott, who has hosted the competition every year he has been in office, helped give the students their awards. "I felt extraordinarily proud ... and I think the people of the area must feel the same," he said.
Scott said there was a tremendous outpouring of parent and teacher support, noting the majority of the 50 contestants were accompanied by family members to the ceremony. "When parents go out there and show their support ... that is the key to building community," he said.
Kim Resnik, director of communications for the Art Institute of Atlanta, said the I3th District art show stands out from other districts' because of parental support. She applauded Scott's continuing sponsorship of the event.
"It is not a required activity for congressional districts to do this," said Resnik. "We want to encourage young people to pursue creative careers. This is a wonderful, visible way to do that."