Scholastic Art Awards Recognize Pace Artists
Senior Matt O’Brien poses with his award- winning paintings.
Through the years, the Academy has acquired a reputation for promoting the arts and producing countless gifted artists. This year a particularly brilliant group of fourteen Pace students exemplified this trend and made their mark in the Scholastic Art competition. Drawing and painting teacher Mr. Bloodworth explained that this number of winners is unusually high.
The Scholastic Art competition is the oldest and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the U.S., granting awards at a regional and national level. Regional Awards include Gold Keys, Silver Keys, and Honorable Mention. This year, five Pace students won Gold Keys: seniors Josh Baron, Matt O’Brien, and Maggie Swain, and juniors Megan Blasberg and Robert Brooks. Approximately 7% of all submissions are recognized at this level. In total, Pace students won nine Gold Keys, five Silver Keys, and nine Honorable Mentions. Three Pace artists won not one Gold Key, but multiple. Josh won a Gold Key for both his ceramics portfolio as a whole and for an individual piece. Robert won three Gold Keys for three pieces of his ceramics work, and Matt won two Gold Keys for his oil paintings “Homestead” and “Venice.”
Senior Gold Key winners Josh, Matt, and Maggie have expanded their artistic talents over their high school careers. Maggie, who has been doing photography since freshman year, was awarded a Gold Key for her entire photography portfolio. Her portfolio consisted of mainly double exposure photos of her friends, Annie and Sydney. Maggie said, “I want to keep doing photography after high school since I’ve enjoyed it so much so far.”
Ceramics teacher Mr. Berman described Josh’s recognition for his portfolio as “a big achievement. It’s rare that students win a Gold Key for their entire ceramics portfolio.” Josh described his reaction to his award as “satisfied. I had never won anything before so it was nice to get some recognition.” Josh has been working in ceramics since sophomore year and plans to continue to pursue it beyond Pace. He said, “I want to do art forever. It’s relaxing and a chance to do purely what I want.”
Mr. Bloodworth praised Matt, saying, “Matt has grown a lot as an artist in the last three years. He’s matured in his artistic ability.” Matt prefers palette knife and oil because he says it comes most naturally to him. He “sticks to impressionist stuff” and basically art that “looks cool.” Mr. Bloodworth denotes Matt’s style as “very original and inspired by some very innovative painters. It’s refreshing to see someone push an original style as far as he has.”
Matt credits his artistic ability to his mother, saying, “My mom is my inspiration.” Along with his mother, Matt shadowed the popular Atlanta artist Steve Penley this summer. Beyond Pace, Matt plans to pursue his talents in a slightly different way. He explained, “I want to apply to art school because my mom never got the chance. However, I like doing it because I’m good. I’m not going to do it as a job, but I do want to incorporate it by doing something like industrial design…something that will put my creative brain to work.”
By Claire Quintrell, Features Editor ’12
Photo: Claire Quintrell