CHS, LHS students scoop up Scholastic art awards

CHS, LHS students scoop up Scholastic art awards

Above is Laura Kuklo’s award-winning charcoal piece, capturing her pup, Tucker, jumping up to greet her neighbor, right. Kuklo, who attends Cumberland High School, initially snapped a photo of the exchange, and worked for hours to turn the moment into a charcoal piece to submit.
Work of five students honored with ‘gold key’ and ‘silver key’ distinctions

Students from Cumberland and Lincoln are among the victors in this year’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, picking up “gold” and “silver” designations in a statewide competition.

It’s part of a national contest where teens submit their work in hopes of clinching an award to join a list of previous winners, including Andy Warhol, Stephen King, Lena Dunham, Truman Capote and Robert Redford.

Two Lincoln High School students in the visual arts program, Sarah Fellingham and Matt Krawetz, were selected to receive awards for their paintings, and were chosen among hundreds of contestants from public and private high schools in the state.

Fellingham was awarded a “gold key,” the highest honor in the competition, for her painting “Squeebs,” and Krawetz picked up a “silver key” for his painting titled “Duality.”

LHS Principal Kevin McNamara told The Breeze, “Both students exhibited excellent technique” with their pieces, which he said were representative of the students’ interests.

The LHS visual arts teacher who leads the students’ class could not be reached for an interview for additional comments.

Adding to Cumberland High’s list of SAWA recipients were “gold key” winners Emily Fortier and Sarah Bonifacio, and Laura Kuklo, who picked up two “silver keys.”

Fortier won gold for her 8-piece portfolio set, work that included paintings of photographs, a sculpture structure and a mixed-media piece. She hopes to become a children’s book author and illustrator, and attend an art school like Rhode Island School of Design or Massachusetts College of Art and Design, known as MassArt.

“It’s an honor to have this (award,)” she said, noting that previous CHS students had been honored by SAWA and she’d hoped to join the group of Cumberland students recognized in the contest. Last year alone, five CHS students saw their work receive awards fom SAWA, a national program run by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

It wasn’t until the past two years, Fortier explained, that she really dove into her artistry. When she first started drawing, Fortier said, she would fill sketchbook pages every day, and kept at it. That work paid off this year, when she received her first-ever SAWA honor.

“Art is not just a way of expressing yourself, it’s also a way of uniting and inspiring and really telling a story,” Fortier said.

She wasn’t expecting to land a gold key, she said, adding, “Every artist is their own critic.”

That proved to be true for Sarah Bonifacio, too, who won a gold key for her self-portrait piece, created with pastel pencils, a medium she’d never used before.

Bonifacio said she struggled with the portrait, spending time after school finishing the project and working on it at home.

As their teacher, Betsey MacDonald, reminds them, Bonifacio said, “art is work,” a saying that’s been ingrained in her mind since she began taking art classes at CHS.

Bonifacio said she plans to continue creating in college, potentially minoring in art while pursuing a degree in the medical field. Since she was a child, Bonifacio said, she’d always try to build off her inspiration to create. But it wasn’t until high school, she said, that she “realized the power that (she) could have and how much further (she) could actually go” with her work.

She said art, “makes us realize that we’re more alike than different.”

Kuklo, who scooped up two silver key awards, submitted a sculpture of a hummingbird she created and a large, 2D charcoal drawing of her dog and her neighbor.

The drawing was a piece she said she struggled with for hours.

She initially created it last school year, but pulled it off the shelf to finalize and tweak.

“I kind of redeemed it as done, mostly because I really didn’t want to touch it after slaving over it for so long,” she said with a giggle, explaining that after taking the project back out, she worked for about 25 hours total on the piece before entering it into the SAWA contest.

“It was really refreshing to take off a piece that was kind of dusty and go, ‘I can really finish this,’ ” she said, particularly in her senior year at CHS.

Other Advanced Placement courses like biology and anatomy pulled Kuklo away from artwork for a little while, she explained, and returning to the craft reminded her how much she loved creating. Kuklo said she plans to continue making art in college, but will pursue a career in the science field.

Artists at CHS, she said, have been forming a larger, more represented group at the school, a statement with which Fortier and Bonifacio agreed.

The school just formed a group under the National Art Honor Society, Kuklo said, in which students will complete community service projects, placing art installations within Cumberland High’s halls in hopes of bringing in a lot of energy.

Some elements of the school could look more aesthetically pleasing, such as the dated tiles that adorn the foyer staircase, she said. Laughing with her fellow classmates and motioning to the tiles, Kuklo said, “I hate this.”

She plans to install her own mosaics to cover the tile material.

Lincoln High School student Matt Krawetz won a “silver key” award for his painting, titled “Duality.”
Sarah Fellingham of Lincoln High School landed a ‘‘gold key” for her painting titled “Squeebs,” pictured above.
Sarah Bonifacio, a senior at Cumberland High School, was awarded a “gold key” in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for her self portrait.
Emily Fortier, a CHS senior, won gold in the competition for her artwork, above.