I had the distinct opportunity to witness how the youth of today interpret the theme, “You Can Create Tomorrow.”
Held in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., The 9th Annual Art Institutes and Americans for the Arts Poster Design Competition National Awards ceremony was a chance to see a showcase of high school creative talent, and how the arts leaders of tomorrow envision the future of the creative process.
One would immediately assume (as did I) that I would be immersed in a sea of digital graphics; but this was far from the case. Most of the art submitted by students for this competition was hand-drawn, painted, photographed, and oftentimes students blended multiple visual mediums to convey the message that creative expression needn’t consist of just one style of expression. This is a true testament to the future of the arts; we use multitudes of resources to create that robust final product.
Andrea Knapp, a high school senior from Atwater, OH addressed the new ways we are using technology in everyday life to grab third place in the High School Senior Category. She will be utilizing her innovative thinking to work towards a B.S. in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
Megan Avery, the second place winner in the High School Senior Category from Clayton, NC took a very mature and considerate approach to her poster design submission—using a photograph she had taken of an Art Institute travel coffee mug with origami flora and fauna bursting from the top. Avery will take her multilayered method of creative expression to The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham with her awarded scholarship.
Grand Prize High School Senior Category Winner Joshua Allred combined the perfect balance of digital rendering and a photograph of himself, taking the theme “You Can Create Tomorrow” to heart. Allred plans to attend The Art Institute of Seattle with his full scholarship, an award he received as a result of his winning submission. He plans to seek out a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, which comes as no surprise as Allred chose to feature these media tools within the poster design.
Grand Prize High School Graduate Category winner Tyrell McGruder will use his $10,000 tuition scholarship to attend The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur. McGruder’s poster design submission featured a digital photographic rendering of himself, accompanied by a literary art form—a poem about thriving utilizing his creativity. This particular poster really hit home for me; in the photograph McGruder aptly chose to don a Baltimore Orioles baseball cap!
According to Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch, “This competition provides them with an excellent opportunity to challenge themselves artistically and encourages them to pursue their passion.” With the two Grand Prize winners using images of themselves, it was apparent that their envisioning of the keys to success start from looking within.
It was especially interesting to see that during the ceremony some of these finalists at one point or another had their cameras in hand, snapping away and constantly looking for outlets to create. No rest for these young creatives, even during a time when they are being honored for their work.
I feel privileged to be a part of an organization whose primary objective is to make available the tools needed to be successful in the arts field. Just as Americans for the Arts has developed avenues for certain programming to gather and challenge each other to be even more successful, with the likes of the Public Art and Emerging Leader Networks, the Art Institute has implemented this contest to challenge students to be successful through harnessing their passion to be creative.
Now, winning students will attend their respective Art Institute programs with the aim to not only further challenge themselves artistically, but generate instances where they can challenge their contemporaries to generate greater success in the arts.