By: Vivian Duncan
PHOTO GALLERY: All-State Art Submissions
The Allstate Art Symposium is a statewide art competition usually sponsored by a university. In the past it has been hosted by Georgia State University (GSU), and before that the University of Georgia (UGA). Now Columbus State University (CSU) sponsors the competition. Art teachers who are part of the National Art Education Association (NAEA) can send one student artwork per student to compete against other students’ art from around the state.
If a teacher is a member of the NAEA, they are invited to choose pieces that exhibit superior artistic qualities from their students’ artwork. Those pieces are then evaluated by a panel of three judges who pick pieces from each district, and from the district winners, they pick around 50-60 pieces who then go to the state finals.
During the actual day of the Symposium, the students whose artwork has been chosen are invited to attend workshops provided in collaboration with CSU and an exhibit displaying the finalists’ artwork.
Students pick two workshops to take part in, all taught by CSU art professors, where they can learn anything from silk screening a t-shirt to how to stretch their own canvas.
After the morning workshop, they take a lunch break and then go to their afternoon workshop.
Art teachers who submit artwork have to frame and send in the pieces weeks ahead of time, so when the attendees get to the symposium, the work is already on display in the exhibit. After everyone has a chance to view the work and awards are announced, students may take their artwork home straight from the exhibit.
Newnan High School has been participating in the Art Allstate Competitions for fifteen years, beginning back when the symposiums were held by Georgia State University. This year, three students attended the event.
Alexis Westrick, senior at NHS, submitted a portrait of her brother using various patterns in pen. She was selected and made the state finalist cut.
Kiley Anderson, also a senior at NHS, submitted a mosaic portrait of her sister and also advanced to the final round.
Shadronious Kidd, NHS Junior, made district this year with her mixed media self portrait.
“The event brings students exhibit experience, an opportunity to see other students’ levels of ability, accomplishments to add to their resume, a chance to advance or learn new skills through the workshops, and they can meet new friends with similar interests,” Jodie Hobbs, NHS art teacher, explained.
Alexis and Kiley attended the symposium together this year and took the same workshops, oil painting techniques and abstract moving still life. In the oil painting workshop, the professor demonstrated various renaissance styles and techniques. In the still life workshop, the students sat around a menagerie of objects and every few seconds would draw and switch seats and draw again in a fast paced rotation.
Although the workshops make up the greater amount of time during the symposium, there were many other experiences and moments that the students could take away from the day.
When asked about their favorite parts of the day, they both praised the cupcakes that were served, and Alexis also remarked on how educational and insightful the still life class was for her to attend.
“I liked the still life class the best, because the teacher was really engaging. Looking at others’ art in the exhibit was inspiring and fun,” Westrick commented.
Outside of their artistic abilities, the students also were able to strengthen other, more broad and personal skills.
Kiley explained how the entire experience helped them to gain a sense of collegiate independence by having to find their way around a college campus and speaking to so many strangers throughout the day.
Humorously she remarked on how successfully navigating such a large event was an accomplishment in itself, “I knew where the parking garage was. That was my accomplishment of the day.”