By Ashley Custer
Youngstown State University will be hosting the 2016 Northeast Ohio Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition on Jan. 8-28 in Bliss Hall’s second floor Judith Rae Solomon Gallery and the fourth floor art department.
The Northeastern Ohio Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition program, founded in 1927, has reviewed the works of around 13 million teenagers, which included the likes of pop artist Andy Warhol and actor Robert Redford, making it the largest annual art competition in America.
Samuel Adu-Poku, professor and coordinator of undergraduate and graduate art education programs at YSU, believes the exhibition provides students with the opportunity to express their creative talents.
“They showcase their successes to their teachers, parents, families, community and the nation at-large, thereby sustaining their interest in art,” he said.
It is designed to bring student artwork to the public. The exhibition encourages students’ creativity and provides them with the opportunity to interact with their generation of artists
“At this age when art programs are being marginalized in many K-12 schools, the Scholastic art show presents a positive message to parents, the community and school authorities about the value of the art programs and the need to promote it as part of core school curricula,” Adu-Poku said.
For students who plan to pursue a degree in fine arts, it enables them to affirm their artistic capabilities in relation with peers from other institutions and build on their confidence and competitiveness.
“For high school students interested in pursuing a college degree in fine art, their participation provides an incentive for building on their creative talents and preparing admission portfolios to attract the attention of YSU Department of Art,” Adu-Poku said.
The Scholastic Art Awards high school ceremony will be held at 12:00 p.m. and the junior high ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16 in Bliss Hall’s Ford Theater. Students will receive awards for their work.
A panel of judges will select works from 560 student’s entries to receive honorable mention, silver and gold keys and five nominations for the prestigious American Visions Awards. The American Visions Award and Gold Key finalists will be sent to New York City, where they will compete for awards and possible scholarships with other student entries from across the nation.
“Since the Scholastic Art Show typically brings between 500 to 600 students and their parents to YSU campus on the opening event, it offers an opportunity for promoting not only the Scholastic event but also our art programs and our state-of-the art facilities to prospective students and our guests,” Adu-Poku said.
He feels that it is a step in the right direction for YSU, as it is typically viewed as an urban university.
“It is an essential community outreach and a strategic effort by the Department of Art to maintain partnerships and collaborate with art teachers and local schools in Mahoning, Columbiana, Trumbull and Ashtabula counties in promoting visual art education,” he said.