A Hayes High School senior recently took home several Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, including three gold keys, the highest honor in the competition.
Alison Alsup said she’s been drawing and practicing art since she was a child and would watch her mother paint. Alsup added she had never taken part in an art contest until a teacher submitted a piece of her artwork two years ago.
“I got an honorable mention my sophomore year and wrote down a goal to get a gold key before I graduated high school,” Alsup said. “That’s why I kept entering.”
This year, Alsup won three gold keys: one for a portfolio of comics she created for The Talisman, Hayes High School’s newspaper; one for a drawing she did of the skyline of Johnstown, Pennsylvania; and one gold key for a painting she did of her grandmother, her mother, and herself at approximately the same age titled “Three Generations.” She was also awarded a silver key for a self-portrait she painted and one silver key for an abstract painting she created called “Irritation.”
Alsup said “Johnstown Pennsylvania” and “Three Generations” were then entered in a national contest, and both pieces earned silver medals.
“It was so exciting,” Alsup said. “My first goal was just to get a regional award … It’s cool to get a medal, you only think of athletes getting medals, so being an artist with a medal around my neck is really cool. It was really neat … It makes me feel confident about my work.”
Alsup said she was proud that “Three Generations” was featured, because it is a piece she has worked the hardest on. The painting also contains dates and locations where her mother and grandmother lived when they were her age.
Alsup added she’s had pieces commissioned by staff at Hayes, including the tickets for the upcoming prom, and she has done the window drawings for movies like “Black Panther” at The Strand. Alsup also recently received a scholarship from the Delaware County Arts Festival Association.
Alsup has also had two pieces featured in the Governor’s Art Show. “Self portrait at 17” is featured in the regional gallery, and a portrait of her classmate, Karl Edwards, is featured in the state gallery, which was a surprise to Alsup because it means it was one of the top 300 student art pieces submitted in the state.
“I did it just for an art project,” she said. “It was surprising, and I was kind of confused. I didn’t put my heart and soul into it like some of the other pieces I did, but people really seem to like it. That was a big deal.”
One of Alsup’s teachers, Lisa Nye, said Wednesday that she is glad Alsup is getting recognition for her work.
“Having Alison as a student really epitomizes why I wanted to teach,” Nye said. “Her enthusiasm about creating art and going to art school is infectious. I’m enjoying seeing her receive awards and scholarships as much as any I ever received myself. I can’t wait to find out where she decides to go to art school and hear about her future endeavors.”
Alsup said she’s been accepted to several schools, but she has not made a formal decision yet.
“Art obviously means a lot (to me),” Alsup said. “I like to take art incredibly seriously. It’s not a hobby, and I don’t just doodle all the time. I think art is something that should be taken seriously … I really like the idea that art can be used as a career and can be used for progress and advancement in society.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.