An intimate group of family, friends, and teachers gathered at the Marco Island Center for the Arts on Friday, April 28th, to support winners of the High School Student Scholarship & Merit Competition as they accepted their awards.
Art made by high school students from Collier County filled the galleries and surrounded the reception with a textured and moody atmosphere. Personal, inventive, and often surreal – the walls were covered with some wonderful creations: Sundrenched coastal landscapes in bold acrylics, arresting self-portraits shot by camera or drawn with graphite, collages evoking the flow of music, off-the-wall 3-D pieces molded in clay and other materials, and much more. Each work demonstrated both the devotion these students had to their craft and their desire to win this competition.
Local artists Sandy Moore Howe, Tara O’Neill, and Phyllis Pranskyjudged the show. Sandy, who teaches clay classes at the Art Center, spoke about the challenges involved when choosing which students are awarded.
“It’s great to judge such talented young people, but making the final decision can be hard. I’m glad that Tara, Phyllis, and I can judge together, because we work in different mediums and have different perspectives.”
Sandy also had a helpful word of advice for a few students who were listening nearby. “Find the thing that you love to do, and practice, practice, practice.”
This is exactly what first-place winner, Sabidio Borgela, expressed he has been doing for years. When asked how he had learned to draw with such precision and realism, he replied “Lots and lots of practice.” Sabidio has been drawing since he was very young, and his winning “Self Portrait” inpencil was a testament to his skill.
The Center’s Executive Director, Hyla Crane, was generous with her praise when addressing the crowd before prizes were presented. She began by complimenting the students and their teachers, and went on to emphasize the crucial role that art plays in education and development, especially starting at an early age. Hyla spoke about the importance of supporting arts in the community and strongly encouraged the young artists who were present to use art as a tool for enriching the lives of others. “Remember that art and culture put us in touch with our humanity, and that is really what we’re trying to do here at the Center for the Arts through our programing,” she said, and added, “If you are around after art school and you want to teach – call me!”