Armstrong students take home national art awards
A tradition of excellence continues in the art room at Armstrong Middle School, with five eighth-grade students winning Scholastic Gold and Silver Key Awards.
Glenda Johnson and Camryn Nichols both won Gold Key Awards for drawing and illustration. Silver Awards went to Keyunna Chandler, Tanner Reeves and Aston Staton, all for drawing and illustration. All the winners are students in Mikel Franklin’s advanced art class. All Gold Key winners move on to a national competition.
The winning pieces are part of an exhibit, which opened Tuesday, and will close March 25. The awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists and writers, a nonprofit dedicated to identifying students with exceptional artistic and literary talent.
“It’s great,” Franklin said. “You’re competing against some of the best schools in the state. Art-wise though, my class is small. My students do their best. I push them every day that they come into my class. We work from the beginning to the end, and I think they’ll see this when they go and do the exhibition and see some of the work that they’ve been up against.”
He said he hoped his students would see their work in comparison to some of the schools they were up against.
“I think they’ll realize that they don’t have as much as some of the bigger schools, but the effort and the work is still there,” Franklin said.
Johnson said she was surprised to hear she had won the competition.
“I thought I hadn’t won anything,” Johnson said. “I thought I’d win a silver or a bronze medal.
Nichols further explained the creation of her winning piece, which she completed in a week during the fall semester.
“We had to get pushed to our limits, and we had to use a lot of media,” Johnson said. “We weren’t really used to it.”
Johnson said she enjoyed making art as a means of self-expression. She added she was interested in anime, and was considering a career in illustration someday.
“I get to do new things, like drawing things using ink and stuff, because the main thing I use is pencil and eraser,” Johnson said. “Now that I am here, I get to use white pencils, charcoal and ebony pencils, just using new things. It’s still kind of hard though.”
Nichols said she hoped to attend veterinary school someday, but still hoped to do art on the side.
Nichols also spoke to the tightness of the class, saying the group had taken art classes together since the sixth grade.