The Scholastic Art Awards, tailored to students in grades 7-12, has been around for a remarkable 99 years — and yet each year the work that emerges seems new and bold. Take this ceramic-and-glass “Face Vessel,” which won a regional Gold Key designation. (All “Gold Key” winners are submitted to the national Scholastic Art Awards program in New York City.) The work’s creator, SILSA senior Olivia Jones, tells Asheville Made that the vessel was a project in her Ceramics II class, inspired by Polynesian Tiki culture: “Tiki is a symbol of protection; the scary faces are meant to repel misfortune and specific negative things. I adapted this concept and made my own piece inspired by Appalachian face jugs and gargoyles, both of which have similar sentiments of protection.” Jones credits her “wonderful” ceramics instructor Natalie Davis and art teacher Kristina Shriver for encouraging her to submit the piece: “They’ve both boosted my confidence so much by simply believing in me.” The student also notes, “The place I feel safest and happiest is where I can express my feelings, both positive and negative equally — being both strong and delicate, angry and self-controlled. So I did both [in the vessel]: two faces for distinct but not dissimilar feelings. They protect each other.” Jones reveals that she has been accepted by prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design, but is still awaiting results from her full round of college applications before she makes a decision. “I might not pursue an art-specific school — it depends mainly on whether it’s financially feasible — but I’ll never stop doing art.”
The 2022 Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition runs through Monday, March 7, at Asheville Art Museum (2 South Pack Square, Asheville, ashevilleart.org).