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Above: John O'Laughlin, a sophomore at Crawford County Career & Technical Center, won the Best in Category (Design) award for his “ZeroTrim Solar Lawnmower” product design.
Students from Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas are being awarded cash prizes and thousands of dollars in scholarship money as winners of the Cleveland Institute of Art’s first 2D3D National Art & Design Competition. The winning artworks, selected by a panel of CIA faculty and submitted by 852 students representing over 265 American high schools, include:
Each category winner receives $500. As the winner of Best in Show, Kathia St. Hilaire is being awarded an additional $2,500, as well as round-trip visit CIA. Most significantly, each winner will receive a $10,000 annual scholarship – a total of $40,000 for four years – should he or she choose to attend CIA.
To Kathia, winning top honors is a measure of her determination to meet the challenges life has given her as a person of Haitian heritage. “I feel so honored that the Cleveland Institute of Art recognized my talent and the hard work I put into my art,” she said. For years, “I saw Haiti as hopeless because of how negatively people spoke about Haiti. [But] hearing stories from my parents and reexamining family photos made me see the beauty of Haiti. Despite the hardships my family and other Haitians may have gone through, we still found a way to overcome.”
“Kathia never waivers from her vision and voice,” said her teacher, Jennifer Gifford. “It is her sheer determination and amazing work ethic that has helped her achieve very high goals she set for herself.”
She has had to overcome the additional challenge of a speech impediment. That is why “I have shown the narratives of Haiti through the medium of printmaking,” Kathia explained. “Having this speech impediment made me discover my artistic talent and the hard work it takes to communicate. Art is an easier way to communicate for me.”
To that point, Grafton Nunes, President of CIA noted, “In a world that increasingly values the visual in how information and design is communicated, the skills and language of visual expression are becoming increasingly important.”
University School senior Ricky Bodner was the only student from Ohio to win one of the Best in Category awards for his lathe turned maple, holly, walnut, ebony, and stainless steel lidded bowl. “I am honored to have received such a prestigious award and I am exited to know that all my hard work paid off,” said Ricky. Reinhold Friebertshauser, Ricky’s teacher and Chairman of the Upper School Art Department commented "we are particularly pleased with the results of this contest, since the jury consisted of a panel of highly skilled practicing artists and art educators.”
For each of the four students, winning CIA’s 2D3D competition may be an important first step toward higher education and a professional career. They and their teachers recognize that studying art and design develops the creative and critical-thinking skills young people will need for the jobs of the future.
“I see art as a way to improve upon everything,” said John O’Laughlin, whose work on his solar-powered lawnmower design required imagination, problem-solving, and advanced mechanical and computer abilities, as well as good draftsmanship. “I would be very honored to attend this school and improve upon my skills with the help of CIA’s very skilled professors.”
“John has an exceptional eye for detail,” said John Brown, O’Laughlin’s teacher at Crawford County Career & Technical Center. “[He] is planning on a major in industrial design. Art studies are critical to this field. [An] understanding of art and what catches people’s attention provides a way for products to be visually appealing as well as functional.”
Monica Perez sees her prize for integrated media as both a reward and an incentive. “This win gave me that push I needed to remember why I fell in love with art,” she said. “Art is my connection between my home life and my public life. At school, I speak English, I act a certain way, I am a certain way. At home, I speak Spanish only for my family because it is a private language, almost. Art is where both my lives intertwine and make me a whole person. With art, everything is balanced.”
CIA’s 2D3D competition was created in 2013 to recognize talented young American artists and encourage them to pursue career paths in art and design. The deadline for entries was March 15; winners were selected during the first two weeks of April by a CIA faculty jury represented by Larry O’Neal, Tommy White, Judith Salomon and Sarah Paul. To see the winning artworks, click here.
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