Student artists given a chance to stand out

Monday, January 29, 2007
This sculpture by Camden Pierce, a junior at Central High School, won first place at the High School Art Symposium. (Fred Lynch)

The long hours Trevor Camp spent chiseling, sanding and waxing a piece of Missouri limestone paid off Sunday.

The Central High School senior was awarded best of show honors and a $1,500 Southeast Missouri State University art scholarship during the opening of the 29th annual High School Art Symposium for his stone sculpture.

"It feels great," Camp said after he won. "When I came up here today and saw all the other artwork, I knew I had a lot of competition."

Students in 11th and 12th grade from 25 participating schools in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois, their families and teachers gathered at the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum on the campus of Southeast for a reception and awards ceremony recognizing the top entries in seven categories.

"It's very rewarding," Camp said about having his work featured in the art symposium. He spent the first half of his senior year creating the stone sculpture in an independent study focusing on recreating the human form.

"This is by far the best thing I've done to date. Next, I want to work with wood," Camp said.

More than 500 entries in the categories of drawing, painting, photography, fibers, ceramics, printmaking and sculpture were narrowed down to 73 pieces by juror Dr. Samuel Bishop, a semi-retired art professor at Southeast.

The top three entries and honorable mentions in each category received an awards certificate. Merit award winner Ashley Smith, a senior at Central High School, also received a $1,000 Southeast art scholarship for her fibers artwork.

The High School Symposium was initiated in 1978 by Southeast art professor Dr. Edwin Smith, who retired last year.

Pat Reagan, chairwoman of the art department, has been involved with the symposium for 16 years.

"The artwork is always very current to the concerns of the young people," she said. "In many cases, it seems to get better each year because the teachers are getting better."

Rob Friedrich, an art teacher for 11 years at Central High School, said the High School Symposium is the main venue for young artists to display their work each year.

"It makes me feel good to see them proud of their work," Friedrich said.

Each high school was allowed to submit 15 pieces of student artwork. Central students claimed first place in every category except for one at this year's symposium.

Central students who won first-place awards include junior Ratko Radojcic in drawing; senior Ryan Hammond in painting; senior Crockette Leible in printmaking; junior Camden Pierce in sculpture; senior Conrad Brown in ceramics and junior Jackie Twidwell in fibers. Kennett High School junior Nicholas Jain claimed first place in photography.

"It's a real morale boost to see your kids do so well," Friedrich said.

Reagan, who teaches several art classes at Southeast, said this year's entries were "very strong work" and she could see many of the high school students fitting into "college programs quite well."

"There's always impressive work turned in by these local high school students," she said.

The artwork will be on display at Southeast's Regional Museum until Feb. 18. Regular museum hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Camp said his scholarship prize will be extremely helpful when he enrolls at Southeast in the fall. He plans to someday become a college art professor.

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