Three students from Alaska were selected to visit New York for their awards in a national art competition, including Juneau’s Cierra Campbell and Claire Scott. (Courtesy art | Heather Ridgway)

Three students from Alaska were selected to visit New York for their awards in a national art competition, including Juneau’s Cierra Campbell and Claire Scott. (Courtesy art | Heather Ridgway)

Brushes with greatness: Juneau students earn recognition in national art competition

Students brought home gold medals and an American Vision Award.

More than half a dozen Juneau high school students won Scholastic Awards at the state and national levels for the 2020 school year.

“This is a prestigious award. It’s been around since the ‘20s and lots of famous artists have been recognized by this award,” said Heather Ridgway, art teacher for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé. “I encourage students to apply when they’ve got really good work.”

The awards act as a sort of clearinghouse for many awards sponsored by companies that support the arts, Ridgway said.

“Being recognized for my art is very exciting and humbling,” said Jojo Griggs, a JDHS student who won a Gold Key, the highest state honor, among other awards. “It means a lot to me that other people like looking at my art as much as I like making it.”

Griggs’ painting “Isolation” won the Gold Key and was an American Vision nominee. She had a clear idea of what she wanted to create with “Isolation,” so the painting took a little less than four hours to complete, Griggs said.

The painting depicts a feminine face partially obscured by shadow.

“Isolation” by Jojo Griggs won a Gold Key and was nominated for an American Vision Award in Alaska’s Scholastic art competition. (Courtesy art | Heather Ridgway)

“Isolation” by Jojo Griggs won a Gold Key and was nominated for an American Vision Award in Alaska’s Scholastic art competition. (Courtesy art | Heather Ridgway)

“I’ve always been drawn to people’s faces because they can express so much in so many different ways. For this piece in particular, I was playing with contrast and how it can change the emotion portrayed in the painting,” Griggs said. ”I was inspired by black and white chiaroscuro portraits from the sixties. They portray drama and beauty very well and I was immediately drawn to them.”

Art comes in many forms. Claire Scott, another JDHS student, won a Gold Key and a National Gold Medal for her comic, ‘Wild Zest.”

[Great Scott! This 16 year old published her second graphic novel]

“My biggest inspirations for ‘The Wild Zest’ (National Gold Medal in Comic Art) were classic Western stories, and shows like ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and ‘Master Chef,’” Scott said. “The idea of Gordon Ramsay being a time traveler was silly enough for me to want to make a comic out of it.”

Cierra Campbell, a Thunder Mountain High School student, won Alaska’s American Vision Award at the national level for her art. Campbell, Scott and Dimond High School student Malia Main were invited to New York City for the awards ceremony, but that was canceled because of the coronavirus.

“Cabin Fever” by Altain Soltys-Gray received an honorable mention in Alaska’s Scholastic art competition. (Courtesy art | Heather Ridgway)

“Cabin Fever” by Altain Soltys-Gray received an honorable mention in Alaska’s Scholastic art competition. (Courtesy art | Heather Ridgway)

The strongest pieces, Ridgway said, were ones that had themes or concepts that spoke to judges during a particularly fraught time as the coronavirus isolates and concerns many people.

“I wouldn’t say my art is relevant to what’s going on right now, especially since I made most of it last year, but of course, artistic interpretation is always up to the viewer,” Scott said. “Outside of my own art, I’d say that more people at this time are looking for entertainment and art seems to be filling that role more than ever.”

Celia Wheeler of JDHS and Abigail Sparks and Alain Soltys-Gray of TMHS were also awarded for their creations. There were more than 3,000 entries for Alaska alone, Ridgway said.

“Winter Outfits” by Claire Scott won a Silver Key in Alaska’s Scholastic art competition. (Courtesy art | Heather Ridgway)

“Winter Outfits” by Claire Scott won a Silver Key in Alaska’s Scholastic art competition. (Courtesy art | Heather Ridgway)

The full gallery of Alaska’s winners and honorable mentions can be found online at https://youngemergingartistsalaska.org/gallery/.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Friday, Oct. 15

The most recent state and local figures

Tone and Charles Deehr in Fairbanks, October 2021. Both photos courtesy Charles Deehr. 3. (Courtesy Photo / Charles Deehr)
Alaska Science Forum: Red aurora rare enough to be special

In decades of sky-watching in the north, he has seen a few red auroras, but not many.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Thursday, Oct. 14

The most recent state and local figures

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, Oct. 15, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The Juneau Police Department will hold a drug take-back day on Oct. 23, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., said the police in a news release. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Police to hold drug take-back day on Oct. 23

Last take-back event, the DEA collected 420 tons of unused or unwanted prescription medication.

Then-Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho, left, and former Juneau Representative Bill Hudson, right, speak with John Torgerson, chairman of the Alaska Redistricting Board during a break in hearing public testimony at the Capitol Wednesday, April 20, 2011.  Alaska’s state flags were lowered Thursday for longtime Alaska lawmaker, Hudson, who died Oct. 11. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
‘A large legacy’: Hudson remembered for dedication to Juneau and the state

Alaska’s state flags were lowered Thursday for longtime Alaska lawmaker Bill Hudson.

The author photographs one of the numerous bull moose he and his wife saw on an elk hunt in Wyoming. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: Desired vs. realized success

No elk taken, but it’s nothing to grouse about.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This photo shows gray currents, also called stink currants, Vivian Mork photographer. (Vivian Mork Yeilk’ / For the Capital City Weekly)
Planet Alaska: Picking currants and riding currents

We give respect and thanks to the berries and the birds as we harvest the last of the berries.

Most Read