Sydney Gastman, staff writer

Art Club had yet another successful year showing off the students’ best work at the Arkansas Young Artists Association annual art show in Little Rock on April 12. Central left with 62 awards, including Best in Show, which junior Emma Jewell won with a piece she entered in the Chalk Pastel Expressive category.

“It was surprising [to win], but also very validating. I saw it as an encouragement to further my art,” Emma said.

Although Emma was honored to receive the Best in Show award, she hasn’t let it go to her head because she realizes how subjective art is.

“I like my art and I’m proud of my art, but I don’t understand how you can point to the best because it’s all so relative and opinionated,” Emma said. “So it was a little contradicting of my belief system when it comes to artistic expression.”

While this wasn’t the Art Club’s best year in terms of total awards, the students did win the most first-place awards Central has ever received.

“There were 11 kids who won three or more awards,” Art Club sponsor and drawing teacher Jason McCann said. “Those 37 awards that came out of those 11 students were more than any other single school won in the state.”

Students who won three or more awards include sophomores Karah Allred and Izabel Santos, juniors Mariah Carter, Savannah Bell and Ina Kim, and senior Erin Garcia. Mariah won awards for all of the pieces she entered, and her favorite graphite drawing won first place in the Portrait Realistic category, which is one of the most competitive categories because any medium can be used.

“It left me shook. It feels good because I like achieving things,” Mariah said.

Two Central students, seniors Alina Sloan and Victor Gomez, also received scholarships at AYAA. Ambassadors from art colleges looked at students’ pieces entered in the competition as well as their On Site drawings. Based on these criteria, Memphis College of Art offered Alina a $13,000 scholarship that renews each year.

“I was really, really surprised just because there were so many people there this year, and they give it out to so few people. I was definitely not expecting it,” Alina said.

2017 may not have been Art Club’s most successful year, but Central students did not disappoint. With 62 total awards, Best in Show, and two scholarships, Art Club’s annual trip to AYAA went exceptionally well.