Not many 99-year-old traditions manage to stay as fresh and exciting as the Scholastic Art Awards, begun in 1923 to showcase regional talent in preteens and teens across the country (grades 7 through 12). Every year, in cities and towns including 20 counties in Western North Carolina, juried work emerges as a testament to hope and rising talent, with some entries in 2- and 3-D work going on to the national contest. Such “Gold Key” designees include Gracie Hart, an eleventh grader at West Henderson High School, who drew the exuberant “Fly.” Asheville Art Museum oversees the local judging process and exhibits the highlighted works. “Each year, the students impress us with their talent, creativity, and passion,” says Kelly Baisley, school & family programs manager at the venue. In addition to drawing, painting, and photography, Baisley this year saw submissions in “encaustic, mixed media, and cut paper.” Certain themes have emerged, too: “More than ever, students are using art to process and respond to current events. We have some very moving artworks that speak to climate change, [the] Black Lives Matter [movement], and the COVID-19 pandemic, among other social issues. And for those who like animals, we have artworks featuring frogs, jellyfish, koi fish, pigs, and alligators!”
The 2022 Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition runs through Monday, March 7, at Asheville Art Museum (2 South Pack Square, Asheville, ashevilleart.org).