By Emerald Green
Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Contest has been a national competition where communities celebrate local students through exhibitions and ceremonies. The awards ceremony for the Southern Nevada Art Region took place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Springs Preserve. Two senior cougs won Silver Keys for “stand-out works submitted to local programs that demonstrated exceptional ability.” Teenagers applied to 29 categories of art and writing, and winners received Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Voices & Visions Nominations in decreasing order of prestige.
Baily Ludwick & “Frida”
Baily Ludwick received a Silver Key for her collage entitled “Frida,” made entirely of gum wrappers.
“It was one of the most meticulous artworks I’ve ever made, and it probably took the longest,” Ludwick said.
One day at a Mexican market, Ludwick saw the package of Canel’s gum, a gum that she had chewed for half her life, a little differently. She noticed how beautifully-colored the wrappers were and was inspired to create art from it. It was only natural for Ludwick to portray Frida Kahlo since she is one of Ludwick’s favorite artists and Mexican, like the medium of choice. The piece took her 30 hours over the course of a month to complete.
“I thought, ‘Hey, I can make something out of this,’” Ludwick said.
Ludwick has always enjoyed admiring art books and has been oil painting since she was seven years old. She is currently enrolled in Graphic Design and AP Studio Art: 2D and Drawing with Mrs. Ayala-McGreal. Even so, Ludwick has never entered an art competition and only did so because Mrs. Ayala-McGreal and Mrs. Nielsen encouraged her to do so.
“I said, ‘Why not? If you don’t try something, nothing’s going to come from it,’” Ludwick said. “To me, Vincent van Gogh represents a true artist I really relate to [Vincent van Gogh’s] passion for making art. He painted all day like it was his job. He painted not for the money or the fame but because he loved painting. Creating art is my favorite thing to do, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop creating.”
Ashlee Nielsen & the “Hand of Mystery”
Ashlee Nielsen received a Silver Key for her sculpture titled “Hand of Mystery,” a challenging structure chosen for its complexity that took her about a month to complete.
“I entered the competition mostly for fun, just to see if my piece could win an award,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen has been interested in art practically her whole life, but this was the first award she’s won for a piece of her creation. She has taken art classes every year since eighth grade. During her sophomore year, she took Ceramics I, and last year, she took Ceramics II and Art I. This previous semester, she took Drawing II and is currently taking AP Studio Art: 3D and Drawing.
“Art is a way for me to use my voice and express myself,” Nielsen said.
She usually draws or uses clay or a collection of random objects to create something bigger than they would be alone, but it was a class project with an objective to use hot glue and toothpicks that inspired her to bring a hand to life.
“To be a successful artist, you have to have something unique to say, practice all the time, find what inspires you, and build your work from that inspiration.” Nielsen said.
Their artworks will remain on display to the general public at the Springs Preserve from Jan. 27 to March 31 of this year.