Multiple Students Win Art Awards

Amelia Capellan – PCHS Bulletin 

Art students at Parrish Community High have won awards for their displays and pieces submitted in exhibits such as in the Dali Museum surrealism exhibit and at Art Center Manatee. 

Dali Museum Exhibit 

The photography students, taught by Kelly Schweers and Erin Lisch, entered pieces into the Dali Museum Surrealism Exhibit. This year, the theme is “Fears and Fascinations of the Fantastic.” It encourages students to explore the irrational, the spontaneous, the marvelous, the enigmatic and the dreamlike. It is characterized as unusual, surprising and disorienting. It challenges the rational and traditional.  

Artists associated with the fantastic go back to the 1500s, and include diverse figures such as Hieronymus Bosch, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Francisco Goya, Paul Klee, and Salvador Dalí. Some key themes of this genre are monsters and demons, dreams and temptations, the fragmented body, the supernatural and the sense of place. It creates a moment of doubt or confusion for the viewer, making them unsure of what is being seen.  

Dali once said, “I try to create fantastical things, magical things, things like in a dream. The world needs more fantasy. Our civilization is too mechanical. We can make the fantastic real, and then it is more real than that which actually exists.” Fears and Fascinations of the Fantastic invites students to reflect on their own fantastic ideas, creating images that surprise, shock and delight.  

This year, the Dali received 416 submissions from 95 Florida visual arts teachers for this year's 2024 Dali Student Surrealist Art Exhibit (May 4- August 11). Of those submissions, only 117 were accepted for the exhibit. The administration, the students and the families of the winners will be invited to the Dali Student Reception. Some students at Parrish Community submitted their work and got accepted to the exhibit and even won. These pieces include "Hidden Horror" by Avery Scribner and Jada Ortiz, "Shadows of the Soul" by Avery Scribner, "Stuck" by Sierra Wilson and Isabella Taillefer, and "Demon Within" by Kasen Davis.

"Hidden Horror" by Jada Ortiz and Avery Scribner "Shadows of the Soul" by Avery Scribner "Stuck" by Sierra Wilson and Isabella Taillefer "Demon's Within" by Kasen Davis

(Photos: "Hidden Horrors", "Shadows of the Soul", "Stuck", and "Demon's Within" respectively)

These students wrote personal statements to describe their photo submissions. "Hidden Horrors" aims to explore the unsettling tension between curiosity and intrusion. Photoshop was used to combine two photos: the masked figure, taken by Ortiz, and the background and hands, taken by Scribner. "Shadows of the Soul" depicts the haunting juxtaposition of life and death, love and loss. "Stuck" aims to invite viewers to explore life beyond their conception as well as depict individuals trapped in the past and unable to escape a twisted reality. Finally, "Demon's Within" aims to capture the bizarre imagery of the unconscious mind and the many "demons" people face in life.

The Runners-Up will be featured in the online Runners-Up Gallery, and their work will also be featured on a monitor in the exhibit.  

The students were proud and overjoyed to be accepted for the exhibit. It was a validation of their efforts and talents, and they felt honored to have their work recognized. They were enthusiastic about the opportunity to display their hard work and creativity. Kelly Schweers, their teacher, says the students “embraced the chance to share their projects with others and were excited about the impact they could make.”  

Schweers was enormously proud of her students for all their efforts and accomplishments. “I felt immensely proud to be a part of the students’ journey. Witnessing their growth, creativity, and dedication is incredibly rewarding. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment being able to guide and support them.”  

Schweers and her students spent a lot of time working to be able to complete these projects before the deadline. Students who submitted their final pieces worked in class and after school and even spent some hours in Erin Lisch's studio (TV Production Teacher) to spend time focusing and achieving the outcome they hoped for. 

Sarah Brunner, junior at PCHS, will be given an award and prize at the Dali Museum’s gallery opening on June 1st.  She was one of hundreds of entries, making this a great accomplishment for Sarah and PCHS. Her artwork will be displayed at the Dali Museum throughout the summer. 

Sarah Brunner's art work: Spider Eye

(Spider Eye by Sarah Brunner)

Arts Alive Awards 

The Manatee Arts Education Council holds an “Arts Alive” contest annually. Several PCHS students entered the contest and there were 3 pieces successfully entered. The following students won recognition for their art and will all receive a $100 honorarium: Sarah Brunner: Best in Show, Diana Majano Mena: Honorable Mention, and Madison Durham and Lisa Jones (partner piece): Honorable Mention. All three pieces will be auctioned off and the proceeds go to the MAEC.

 Sarah Brunner's art work: Once Upon a Dream Diana Mena's art work: OCEAN Madison Durham and Lisa Jones' artwork: Yin and Yang

(Once Upon a Dream by Sarah Brunner, OCEAN by Diana Majano Mena, Yin and Yang by Madison Durham and Lisa Jones)

Lana Brown, art teacher at Parrish Community High School, says her students were enthusiastic about submitting their work outside the classroom. Arts Alive allowed students to create their art without restrictions. “It's always amazing to see all the different original ideas that come to fruition from these types of contests!” Two students from her class received honorable mention and a $100 honorarium and were excited and grateful. Brown was very proud of all the students that participated in the contest. “I loved encouraging and giving feedback throughout the process. I’m so proud of all the students that participated.” 

Students Lisa Jones and Madison Durham received honorable mention. Along with each student receiving a $100 check from MAEC. The title of their piece is Yin and Yang and was auctioned off at the Arts Alive event. Their work was auctioned for $300, and all proceeds went directly to MAEC.  

Jones and Durham described the inspiration for their piece: “This piece focuses on light, color, and nature as its key elements. We were inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night but wanted to bring the night sky underwater. We strove to give our work the illusion of movement with the use of vibrant colors, textures, and swirling patterns. We each contributed equal amounts of creativity to each side of the work to complement the yin and yang of the fish as our focal point. Co-creating this painting allowed us to lean on each other for inspiration and creativity. We titled our work Yin and Yang based on the Chinese philosophy of interconnections.”