Tag Archives: success

Featured Teacher: Cherie Jenkins

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ImageCherie Jenkins teaches art to students in grades K-12 for two home school Co-ops in Dallas, TX.  Her student, Aiden Moller, was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2013 art contest.  The winning art, “Whimsical Bird”, can be viewed here.  Cherie has had over 100 students become published artists since she first participated in our national art contest in 2013.

We asked Cherie her thoughts on engaging student artists and what helps her to be successful in the classroom. She responded with the following:

“I find that while engaging art students in the classroom, it is best to keep in mind the need to break down the lesson into several parts. My students flourish with step-by-step instructions from drawing with lines and shapes that are familiar, to painting using color families on the color wheel, as well as a good foundation in art elements and principles of design. I especially enjoy working with my students as they explore the different art mediums and art techniques I’ve introduced to them. During each lesson, I strive to inspire my students to work towards ‘Completion’, rather than perfection. Many students get caught up in trying to produce ‘Perfect’ art, discouragement then sets in and the art piece is left unfinished. While students are focusing on completion, it’s their ‘Creative’ mind that influences their art piece, instead of their ‘Critical’ mind. As an art teacher, I see my calling as one who not only instructs but inspires, and inspiration is just as important as instruction for the creative process.”

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

Featured Student Artist: Meagan Wu

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WuMeagan-104 Meagan Wu is a 17-year-old rising senior at Canyon Crest Academy (CCA) high school in San Diego, California. She was selected as a Top Ten Winner for her colored pencil drawing, “Floral Beauty.”  Meagan’s art was chosen as one of the ten best in all of North America out of thousands of entries submitted. Her art was featured and published in our Spring 2013 anthology.

Meagan has developed as an aspiring young artist through recognition as a multitalented individual and intellectually engaged student. She has made many accomplishments both as an artist and musician who has performed in Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, and soloed with orchestras. Meagan recently attended the prestigious Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Summer Seminar at Colorado College with full scholarship as one of 60 gifted high school juniors nationwide, drawing and painting in the mountains under the daily tutelage of guest artists Don Coen and Barbara Friedman.

Meagan became avidly interested in art at a young age and has the National Youth Art Competition, California State PTA, San Diego County Fair Youth Art Show, Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and has had her artwork displayed in the San Diego Art Institute Museum of the Living Artist for three years. Her art consists of work from her AP Drawing class, free time, and CCA Envision Visual Arts (EVA) Conservatory under the guidance of Jessica Matthes, who says: “Meagan has been one of our star students in EVA day classes and in Conservatory.  She has an extremely high level of skill and creativity and especially excels at painting.  I have been lucky enough to have Meagan in several of my classes and she always goes above and beyond in every project”.

Meagan especially loves to draw human figures, and is inspired by music she listens to and history. She focuses on hyperrealism. “Art encourages me to observe beyond a superficial expression or subjective experience. It allows me to give it my own story, which is just as exciting as viewing the finished piece.”

We asked Meagan to share her inspiration as well as her future aspirations:

“I especially like ‘Floral Beauty‘ because it has so many intricacies: the flower petals’ delicate hues, the reflection in the golden vase, the countless folds of the tablecloth…It’s more than just flowers, and is quite mesmorizing. I drew ‘Floral Beauty’ because I am intensely engrossed by such fine details, and the setup/composition tested my hand with detail to the maximum. Somehow, working on minute elements doesn’t hurt my patience because I know how much such concentration contributes to the piece as a whole. Many people assume that realism like in still lives and portraits is undermined by photography. But I will always believe that realistic art undermines photographs, since artists use their own hands and a priceless determination to recreate reality. It is this diligence that illustrates just how precious art can be. It my delight in sketching even random things I see when travelling or at home that has made me so much keener. I hope that I can develop my art further by incorporating even more unique concepts and meaningful stories that cannot be told in words. I know that I will continue my artistic, and musical, pursuits after high school.”

art-num-130012843Meagan also loves to play the cello, and has demonstrated her musical skill by winning various competitions from the local to international level including 1st Prize in the H.B. Goodlin Scholarship Auditions, American Protégé International Music Talent Competition, MTAC Concerto Competition, MTAC VOCE Competition, Satori Strings Competition, International Youth Praise Competition; and 2nd Prize in American Fine Arts Festival International Concerto Competition and Era of Romantic Music Competition, Cal-Poly All-State Music Festival Solo Competition, Grossmont Music Scholarship Auditions, and more. Furthermore, Meagan loves to serve her community through performances at senior/retirement houses, nursing homes, libraries, and fundraising events. Meagan enjoys the challenge of balancing her art, music, and academics with equal devotion.

Congratulations, Meagan, on not only being selected as a Top Ten Winner for the Spring 2013 art contest, but for your incredible achievements in both the fine and performing arts. We wish you the best in your bright future, and thank you for inspiring others with your beautiful talent.

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

Great Artists Take Risks

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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.

Raise the Bar

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ImageThe deadlines have now passed for entry into our spring contests.  It is always a joy to come across a teacher who really knows how to teach and you have 30 entries that are each a joy to judge.  It always comes down to the teacher.  We have some teachers who send in 50 entries and none are accepted.  In other cases, a teacher who really works with his or her students sends in 50 entries and all 50 are accepted.

There are several teachers who I wish were teaching my children.  I really don’t think these exceptional pieces of art or poetry came from schools with above average students.  Many of them come from normal neighborhood public schools.  I think a teacher took ordinary students and taught them techniques that ended in extraordinary results.

I hope as teachers see our books and realize what each grade is capable of creating, the bar can be raised. I hope next year, one teacher will look at our contest with the attitude of “Wow! I didn’t know kids could do this quality of work,” and then that teacher will take it as a challenge next year.  My hope is that for his or her class the expectations that the students and the teacher have will be raised and another class will produce extraordinary work.

For more information about our national writing contests, please visit www.PoeticPower.com.

For more information about our national art contest, please visit www.CelebratingArt.com.

The challenge and the success are worth the risk

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Thirty years ago my students felt a C was average.  To earn an A  was an  accomplishment.  Today, when I state to my students that  the average on a test was 85% I am thinking it was an easy test.  A different reaction is from my students who are worried why the average is so low.  What happened to having a few students excel?  When everyone is rewarded as if they excelled, it takes away from those that worked hard to be the best in the class.

In judging art and student writing, we put in literally thousands of hours reviewing the entries.  Entries are viewed by more than one person and then the ones that we feel are worthy are invited to be published. The final winners come from these entries.  When we do not accept an entry, we are not suggesting that it is not art or that is is not a poem or an essay.  Not being accepted simply means that our judges thought other entries were more deserving to be published.

In working with student contests, we often have parents and teachers contact us and ask if we accept everyone who sends in an entry.  There are some publications that may do that and have as their sole purpose to sell books.  That is not who we are.  Our goal is to be selective enough that it is an honor to be included.  We want the “A” and “B” entries, the best entries,  to receive recognition. If everyone is accepted, the accomplishment is diminished.

Sometimes entering a contest is discouraging.  You may not be accepted.  And then when we see the winners, we don’t always know the history of their success.  For every success, that we see, there are often many struggles and failures that we don’t see.  We all know the story of JK Rowling, and her many rejections before Harry Potter was accepted.  But she kept trying, took the risk of rejection and we all know the result.  Never limit your own opportunities.  Take the chance and let others make the decision.  If you don’t take the risk, you are limiting your success.