Student wins gold key portfolio, others take home awards in national contest


Photo courtesy of Robert Pierson.

Revere had sixteen key winners (Lilly Oldham not pictured).

Lux DeMoss and Molly Oldham

Every year since 1923, judges have awarded certificates to high school students who demonstrate talent and achievement in the areas of art and writing. The Scholastic Art Awards competition, judged by professors and retired art teachers, celebrates its 95th anniversary this year. The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers presents these awards. Many famous artists and writers such as Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, and Ken Burns have received awards from the competition. Through this competition, senior Camille Volk has won multiple awards in the last four years including a gold key portfolio.

Out of the 102 pieces of art Revere entered this year, 69 pieces received awards. Revere  students won 9 gold keys, 20 silver keys, 40 honorable mentions, and a gold key portfolio. According to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, “A gold key is the very best works submitted to local programs. Gold key works are automatically considered for national–level recognition, silver key are stand-out works submitted to local programs that demonstrate exceptional ability, honorable mentions are accomplished works submitted to local programs showing great skill and potential and American Visions & Voices Nominee are five works, from across all categories and grades, are selected from those earning gold keys as the ‘Best-of-Show’ for each local program as nominees for the American Visions & Voices Medals.”

Revere art and photography teacher Robert Pierson talked about Scholastics and gave his definition of the competition and he also talked about how receiving an award for your work or having it displayed means something and can be important to young artists.

“Scholastics Art Awards is a national competition. . . . It is the oldest and most prestigious art competition in the United States. Getting your stuff on the wall or in the display case. . . . It means something, and in scholastics it means you are in the top 10% of five counties, and the stuff entered is the best stuff the school has,” Pierson said.

Senior Camille Volk entered a portfolio which received a gold key. This year, only 11 of 83 submitted portfolios achieved this honor. Her portfolio consisted of 8 colored pencil pieces that will showcase at Kent State Stark campus and will then compete for National Honors in New York City. Pierson talked about Volk’s portfolio and gave information on how she built on ideas that she had in previous years.

“Camille got a national silver key last year. One of those works in her portfolio was a national silver key, and she worked hard to build on the same idea that complimented her work last year, so it would look like one body of work that went together,” Pierson said.

Volk, who has been involved with art since kindergarten, has loved to draw and paint from a very young age. She took lessons for a year or two when she was the young age of five and six. While in middle school, she had an art teacher, Mrs. Kibbler, who helped her experiment with processes most young kids do not experience until early adulthood. She dedicates her art skills to the techniques she has learned throughout her years of practice, and the opportunities she has had.

“My ability to draw comes from hours of experimentation, practicing different techniques and exposure to opportunities to learn more,” Volk said.

Aside from drawing, Volk is Co-president of NAHS, founder and president of Revere athletic leadership council, and two year swim team captain.Volk is also a member of student council and NHS.

The judges this year accepted 11 portfolios of those submitted and Volk commented on how much winning this award means to her. Revere has not won an award for a portfolio since 2013.

“[Of the 11 chosen,] having one of them be my work means the world to me, and that every minute struggling over a color or shape was worth it. It is such a huge honor to get this award,” Volk said.

The portfolio Volk put together focused on hands and dramatic lighting. Each piece took her one to three months to complete and she has been working on these pieces for a year and a half.

Volk took Elements of Art A and B her freshman year, allowing her to take drawing and design sophomore year. Afterwards she took AP drawing as a junior which lead to AP 2-D design as a senior. Volk commented on how taking these classes allowed her to work on her portfolio.

“Having two years of AP art really helped generate the time I needed to put together the portfolio.” Volk said.

Volk loves each piece in her portfolio for a different reason, some for the colors or contrast and others because of the composition or subject. A fan favorite in this award winning portfolio is a piece titled “Chance Creek Blues.” Volk’s favorite technique, called rendering, requires her to take multiple photos and then she draws the most interesting photo taken.

Over the last four years, Volk has received one gold key portfolio, four gold keys, three silver keys and one honorable mention. Volk, though undecided about what she will do after high school, plans to continue to draw and sketch, but hopes to major in chemical engineering.

Sophomore Ana Hair, also receiving multiple awards, won seven honorable mentions along with a gold key. She talked about what winning a gold key and seven honorable mentions meant to her and how it helped her want to pursue a career in photography.

“The award kind of just finalized what I’m good at and what I’m probably going to do later on,” Hair said.

Earning a gold key portfolio is considered a high honor, and winning any other award in scholastics is considered a high achievement as well. Over half of the pieces entered by Revere students won awards and the exhibition of all gold key, silver key, and gold key portfolios were on display January 17 through February 1 at Kent State University at Stark.