Tag Archives: achieve

Featured Student Artist: Valerie Ng



From Queens, New York, Valerie Ng is 8 years old and has one sister and two brothers.  She studies art at Sharron Art Center – Flushing.  Valerie loves drawing, dancing, playing piano, swimming, and skiing.  When she grows up, she wants to be an artist.

Valerie’s art, “Bamboo Brunch“, was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2013 art contest.  As a Top Ten Winner, Valerie received a $25 award and a copy of the book she was published in, as well as special recognition that she is one of the top artists in the country for her age division.  “I drew this picture because my favorite animals are pandas.” Valerie states, “They are endangered now, we must protect them. Don’t you think they are cute?”

To learn more about our national art contests, visit www.CelebratingArt.com.

Valerie Ng

Great Artists Take Risks


220px-Nick_cave Recently I attended an on stage interview of Nick Cave who is a performance artist that is the director of the graduate fashion program at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Nick has traveled throughout the world showing his creations that mix art with performance.  There are many Youtube links to see the fantastic things he has done.  Take a look.  He is now world famous for his creations.  They are unique.  After the interview they opened up the audience to questions.  I asked Nick if there was any trepidation to his emerging with this new medium.  His reply was that for a while he created his art and they stayed in his apartment.  Then bit by bit he shared it with others and a new art form emerged for which he is famous. There was risk involved.

shapeimage_3In thinking of the students who participate in our contests and the thousands of other artists or poets who don’t send in their work, I realize there is always a risk in sharing your work with others.  “What if they think my work isn’t good?”  “What if they laugh at me?”  Yes, there is always that possibility.  However, there is always the possibility of being accepted to be published and people thinking “Wow.  Their work is great.”  No risk…no gain.  Nick Cave could have hid his work in fear of what others would think.  Instead he shared it and is loved throughout the world.  I think all art has an element of risk.  Take a chance.  Share it with the world.

—Tom Worthen, Ph.D., Editor

To learn more about our national art contests, visit www.CelebratingArt.com.

To learn more about our national writing contests, visit www.PoeticPower.com.

Featured Student Artist: Christine Cho


ImageChristine Cho is a sophmore at Hebron High School in Texas.  Her painting, “Big Flirt”, was selected last spring as a Top Ten Winner for her age division.  When Christine isn’t painting, she enjoys playing tennis, spending time with friends and family, and reading.

Christine explains, “Although I have not been painting for very long, I know that I will continue to paint for as long as I can, because I Iove being able to see all my hard work come together when the painting is finished. Currently, my favorite medium is acrylic, but I have just recently started painting with oil paints, and I am beginning to like that very much as well.  My favorite things to paint are the small details, like feathers, stitches, bubbles, etc. because even though they might seem minuscule, and might not be seen at first glance, I feel they really add extra dimension and character to a painting.

ImageFor this particular painting, “Big Flirt”, my inspiration was to draw a beautiful duck that stood out from the others, because I originally planned to enter the Junior Duck Contest, but I felt constrained by the 9″ by 12″ size I was required to meet. So after a lot of time and research, I decided to focus on my duck rather then the contest I would be entering. After finding a duck that I really liked, I began to sketch it out on the canvas in detail, then continued on to paint, and enhance the colors of the duck a little bit to ensure that it would be eye-catching, regardless of the contest I planned to enter.”

Christine’s future plans include continuing to paint, earning a degree in the arts, and then continuing on to hopefully pursue a career in the arts as well.

To learn more about our national art contests, please visit www.CelebratingArt.com.

Make Your Student Feel Like an Artist


ImageWhat makes a student feel like he or she is an artist? Often teachers assign an art project, it gets completed and it is sent home.  However, with one more step, students feel their work is valued and shared with the school and community.

ImageJudy Johnson and Jana Miller at Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston, North Carolina have learned the value of a student art show.  Judy states “I have been doing this for 24 years and the excitement never pales.”  Each year they host a show that shows off their students’ work.

ImageJudy explains how the art is selected.  “Each year I save all the work that has gone up in the halls and the students bring in their pile (after a very confusing delivery system) to class and they SHOULD have their two strongest pieces on top.  I work with each one to determine if their decision is a sound one.  Sometimes we negotiate  and sometimes the class may get involved with a critique…even 1st grade.”  The art is then judged by an independent artist from the community.    The students feel like they have their own gallery and that their work is valued.  From the number of walls covered with art in the pictures, you can see Arendell Parrott Academy has a vibrant program.

In having judged thousands of students’ work I can testify that they are one of the top programs in the country that participate in our contest.  Their student work is a joy to judge.

Tom Worthen. Ph.D.

Featured Student Artist: Youna Jang


Today’s featured student artist is the incredibly talented Youna Jang.  Youna is a senior in high school and was a Top Ten Winner for the Fall 2011 Spring Art Contest.  She plans to go to a good art college that will lead her to be a graphic designer that gives positive messages to the world.  Youna explained to us what inspired her beautiful art piece, “My Grandmother.”

Image“Though I have always held a passion for art, I did not always feel as confident about taking it in as my future and career as I do now. Despite worries about the potential costs and risks, I could not give up on the idea because I was so sure that art was the only thing that could ever be mine and make my heart beat as it had. I felt a strong desire to create. My mind could not stop wandering and exploring idea after idea and my eyes could not stop searching for awe-inspiring works to learn from.

Thus, during my high school years, I decided to prove to myself that I was qualified to make art my career and extinguish any lasting doubts by participating in as many art competitions as I could. One of them was ‘Celebrating Art’. My art work, ‘My Grandmother’ was for my grandmother who gave me much love and supported me to be an artist while I was growing. She was big part of my life. In the art piece, I wrote about her love that she gave to her grandchildren. With her support, I could keep my dreams and hopImagees.”

One can see in Youna’s art the emotion she was able to show the world through her creation.  Youna went on to tell CelebratingArt her hopes and dreams for the future.

“I would like to be a designer. In particular, the graphic designer Jeseok Yi inspires me to pursue graphic design and Public Service Announcement work in particular. A good example of Yi’s work is a piece called, ‘For some, it’s Mt. Everest.’ Against the steps of the subway stairwell, an illustration of Mt. Everest is superimposed. At the bottom, it says, ‘For some, it’s Mt. Everest.’ Yi got this idea when passing by an old woman who was having a difficult time going up the stairs of a subway station. This work shows the way an artist can identify a problem and create a work that presents that problem to the greater public. By creating my own projects like this public service announcement, I want my art to shake the hearts of others as well as convey informative messages.

Even though my parents don’t have ability to support me financially, I’m not going to give up because I have clear dreams and goals for my future. With my talent and passion for art, I want to give people positive messages so that this world could be a better place.”

Thank you, Youna!  What an inspiration you are to others trying to achieve their dreams.  Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, we know you will go on to do great things with your incredible talent.

Empower Yourself to Do More


When I was a boy, my father had an old Boy Scout Handbook that had the following quote:

Bite off more than you can chew and chew it.
Do more than you can do and do it.
Hitch your wagon to a star
Take a seat and there you are

I think it was attributed to Tennessee Ernie Ford.  For the last 45 years, that has been a motto that I have lived by.  But I realize that there are pros and cons to this lifestyle.  As a student and a teacher, I have always been an overachiever. I have bit off more than I could chew, and to my surprise I always chewed it.  I excelled and became a teacher who has received teaching awards at two universities, had my speech and debate teams win national awards, has given service on many boards, and has given a lot back to the community.  It was more than I thought I could do.

But getting to that star is a process and not a goal you reach.  There is always more to do.  More to achieve.  Perfection is something to work toward, not to obtain.  Once you have taken on the attitude of always doing more, you can never take a seat and arrive.

As a teacher, I have found that I can always do more.  But then there is a cost.  Time away from family, less sleep, a few more gray hairs. This year I am in charge of my 35th high school reunion.  In contacting my classmates, I find a few obituaries along the way. I stop and wonder what the costs were along the way of doing too much.  We alway hear to “Stop and smell the roses.”  Maybe taking in a little from both mottos will create a better balance.

Just a few thoughts for the day.  Make your day an awesome one!