Scholastic Art Award winners triumph

Two Bowie students compete and win recognition for their art pieces at a regional level


Charlotte Koellner

SKETCHING THE ART: Senior Winter Brown sketches art from a picture on his phone. Brown’s piece “Internet Sobriety” is based off of his time spent on technology during quarantine, and represents people’s struggles with phone addiction.

Amilia Velez, Entertainment Editor

 Examining the canvas, senior Winter Brown reflects on a piece that he doesn’t know will win big in the regional Scholastic Art Awards.

The Scholastic Art Awards are a competition where hundreds of students in Austin submit their creative pieces for scoring by judges in many fields from painting, ceramics, and photography. The Scholastic Art Awards were founded in 1923 and the main goal of the organization is to allow creative teens to have a platform to display their art. Brown submitted two art pieces, one being titled Internet Sobriety. 

“Internet Sobriety was inspired by an art piece I had done over quarantine,” Brown said. “Despite the headaches, I kept trying to go back to my phone because I didn’t know what else to do with my time. When I finally realized the origin of my headaches, I turned towards art as a way to use the time.”

According to Brown, the piece was made to depict everyone’s struggle to get off of their phones and was a style that was new to him. 

“It was a difficult style that I’m not used to doing, so there was a lot of practice that needed to happen before starting the actual piece,” Brown said. “I needed reference photos, and then I needed to practice drawing those.”

Along with Brown, sophomore Sophia De Kruyff also won a Silver Key for her piece titled Surprise. This piece features a black and white tiger leaping at the viewer. 

“I drew a tiger leaping at the camera on a fourteen by seventeen inch mixed media paper,” De Kruyff said. “I used various sizes of micron pen and cross-contoured to shade. For the background, I used black acrylic paint and a thick poster Sharpie.”

De Kruyff found inspiration from something in her everyday life. According to the Scholastic Art website, it is essential for teens to showcase personality in their submissions. 

“I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post of a collection of works from Douglas Smith,” De Kruyff said. “I really liked the way he used a hatching on a scratch-board, so I decided to see if I could do the same thing but with a pen hatching on regular paper.”

The Scholastic Art Awards required students to submit through an online platform. According to Brown, there is a lot of competition with talented artists around Austin.

“I kind of had no expectations while entering the competition,” Brown said. “I hoped to win something, but the website is kind of difficult to navigate at times, so I couldn’t gauge the talents of the other students that had submitted their work.”

The Bowie art program has a wide variety of classes and teachers that allow students to explore their art interests. According to De Kruyff, a good art teacher, like Mindy LeJeune, is essential for success in art. 

“Ms. LeJeune, who I’ve had for two years, has helped me so much by giving me great advice and letting me skip or pause on class assignments to work on entering competitions.”

The Scholastic Art Award judges focus on three main things when scoring pieces; skill, originality, and emergence of personal voice. 

Expression in a visual way and not a verbal one is something so important in art.

— Mindy LeJeune, Bowie Art Teacher

“I think personal expression is important for students in art,” LeJeune said. “Scholastic loves personal choice and expression and we ask [our students] to show that in their submissions.”

Brown and De Kruyff were two of five winners from Bowie of the regional Scholastic Art Awards. According to Brown, channeling his personal voice was something that was essential in creating his piece. 

“Student voice is something that I want my students to learn from their experience entering into the Scholastic Art Awards,” LeJeune said. “Expression in a visual way and not a verbal one is something so important in art.”

According to Brown and De Kruyff, time management is especially important when completing any art piece for a contest. 

“I got the due date mixed up in my head, so I thought I had to get my piece done a week earlier than I should have,” De Kruyff said. “I ended up really rushing things and using my whole Thanksgiving break to draw which led to some mistakes that could have been avoided.”

The Scholastic Art Awards happen every year and students have the chance to enter multiple times throughout their time at Bowie. Students like De Kruyff want to continue to pursue their passions in art through competitions like the Scholastic Art Awards and contests. 

“I know that I want my future career to involve art, hopefully traditional, but other than that, I have no specifics,” De Kruyff said. “I just know I’ll be sticking with it and entering more competitions and more styles in 2023.”