The artwork of five Middlebrook School 7th and 8th graders has been selected by the annual Scholastic Art Awards.
The winners, who were announced last week, are Lizzie Yoon in the Drawing category, Isabelle Kho for Ceramics, Jasmine Humphrey for Painting, Ella Kinnersley for Digital Photography and Julia Behar for Painting.
The honor is no small feat considering that there are 700 art students at Middlebrook and each of three art teachers - Mrs. LaBarbera, Mrs. Bailey and Mrs. Usher, who is subbing through January - could each only select four entries for consideration.
The four categories that were considered for the prestigious Scholastic awards were digital photography, painting, ceramics and drawing.
"The awards are every year and we start anticipating them in advance. We always have it in the back of our minds before we zero in," said 14-year Middlebrook art teacher Susan LaBarbera.
Seventh grader Lizzie Yoon explained the origin of her drawing and how it was inspired by her habit of doodling.
"Originally it was a drawing on a sticky note," Elizabeth said. "My room at home has boxes full of them."
Eventually, Elizabeth said, she revised her tiny doodle until it became a significantly bigger artwork, with the final piece measuring about 24" x 36".
One student, Ella Kinnersley, was honored in the digital photography category.
"Ella is an amazing photographer," said LaBarbera. "She came to me last year and showed me her photos."
"I always used my iPod to take photos. For my artwork I used an app called Super Impose to make my hand transparent," Ella said. "After a while I switched over to a Canon Rebel digital SLR," she added, describing the evolution of her photography hobby.
In the ceramics category Isabelle Kho's "bubble bowl" was selected by Scholastic.
"I worked on that outside of school at my art club studio. It took a month and I worked on it over Christmas break," Kho said.
Julia Behar, whose painting originated from a project that was part of her art class curriculum, is titled, "The Journey." Explaining its origin, she said, "We had to pick up a landscape photo in class and this was simple enough to do in a limited time. I liked the photo, so first, I sketched it out on paper, and then I started painting it in and adding more detail."
The painting project was limited to primary colors and three neutrals - black white and brown, which meant the students had to mix on disposable paper pallets.
"It's so hard to make light blue," said Isabelle.
The students were given the choice of adding a gloss shine or leave a matte finish when they completed their paintings. Behar opted for the shiny finish for her painting.
The girls' projects are on exhibit from Jan. 12 - Feb. 3 at the University of Hartford's Art School, Silpe Gallery. On Jan. 26 there will be an awards ceremony at the gallery, which the students and their art teachers eagerly anticipate.
"We'll all meet at the show. It's an exiting field trip, said LaBarbera. "It gives the students a chance to see other students' work and the caliber. For a 7th or 8th grader to see this is both empowering and inspiring."
In the short-run, the students expect to hear from Scholastic on Wednesday about their fate at the next level of competition. "We'll find out tomorrow by email or checking the website," said Yoon.
Any of the girls might win Gold, Silver or Honorable Mention. The competition escalates to state level, and ultimately to a national level.
Watch Patch for updates on the Middlebrook School art student Scholastic winners.