On Nov. 18 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., the Martha Gault Art Gallery presented the annual Regional High School Art Exhibition and Awards Reception. The Martha Gault Art Gallery is sponsored by the Art Department, The College of Liberal Arts and by the Student Government Association.
The local high schools that participated in the exhibit and reception this year included: Butler County Area Vocational Technical School, Franklin Area Junior Senior High School, Grove City Area High School, Keystone Charter School, Lawrence County Career and Technical Center, Mars Area High School, Mercer Area Senior High School, Neshannock Junior Senior High School, Oil City Senior High School, Seneca Valley Senior High School, Slippery Rock Area High School and West Middlesex Area High School.
The awards offered this year included: Best of Show award, four Honorable Mention awards, SRU Art Students’ Choice and SRU Potters Guild Ceramics award. There is also a scholarship opportunity for incoming freshman contingent on 2022 admissions acceptance. This scholarship usually ranges from $400-$1000 depending on how much money the Art Foundation has brought in.
To enter the exhibit and reception, high school students are limited to two submissions of art per student. To be considered for the scholarship, students must submit a total of seven pieces of art.
Tricia Bishop, assistant professor in the art department, started the Regional High School Art Exhibition and Awards Reception in 2011. Her main goal of the gallery was to provide high school students with a professional space to present their artwork.
“It was an opportunity for high school student to exhibit their work at a professional gallery and get it nicely framed and presented,” Bishop said. “The students will also get experience entering in a juried show.”
High school students who enter the event often then become aware of the university. Sometimes students will consider attending and applying to SRU after attending the event.
Theresa Antonellis, professor in the art department and director of the Martha Gault Art Gallery, assisted in the planning of this annual event.
“The first thing on my mind is that it inspires them to think about themselves as being college freshmen,” Antonellis said. “In high schools there may or may not be that kind of leadership or role model so to have any kind of interaction on a college campus, suddenly light bulb start going off in terms of imagining themselves as students in college or university.”
This year the art department received 292 entries from local high schools. The professors then narrowed the art down to 65 pieces. The Art Society club picks one winner for Best of Show. Each faculty member picks their top ten pieces of art and then the votes will be tallied.
“It’s really wonderful to see the high school students, their families and their professors have that sense of accomplishment from having your own artwork on the walls,” Antonellis said. “It’s really hard to describe that.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to see your creation, right in a gallery and professional gallery space.”
Typically, parents, grandparents and professors attend the event, and like to take pictures with the students in front of their artwork. Bishop described the atmosphere as fun and festive.