Olentangy Local Schools is known for its academics and athletics. However, the district is also being recognized for its artistic students.
For example, 21 of the 27 awards presented during the current Delaware County High School Juried Art Competition at the Arts Castle went to Olentangy students. Of the 300 works of art from the Delaware area, Olentangy High School’s Sophia Fritz earned the event’s “Best in Show” award for her sculpture “Safari.” The artwork is on view at the Arts Castle, 190 W. Winter St., through Feb. 24.
In addition, Orange High School students have their Silver and Gold Key-winning artwork from the annual Scholastic Art regional competition on view at the Columbus College of Art and Design’s Acock Gallery, 60 Cleveland Ave., through Feb. 26. Senior Amanda Ba was awarded an Orange-record 15 awards for her drawings, paintings and portfolios. Liberty High School student Elle Yax also has her Key-winning work on view at CCAD.
In other Orange High news, its 2015 student-created yearbook was named “All-Ohio,” the top-ranking award in the state, by the Ohio Scholastic Media Association. Also, the school’s Visual Arts Department is participating in the Memory Project, where students create a portrait of an orphaned or disadvantaged child or teen around the world and have it delivered to them.
“Every time you turn around, our kids are winning awards in the arts,” said Vince DeTillio, a curriculum supervisor, at an Olentangy Board of Education meeting last Thursday. “It’s just amazing.”
During the presentation, someone asked if a student painting was actually a photograph because it was so realistic-looking.
Casie Kirk, a traveling art teacher, explained that her elementary students have a media book, where they illustrated the same item using different media throughout the school year, starting with a pencil.
“We’ve been very committed that every student succeeds,” said Anthony Elkins, a curriculum supervisor. “It does make a difference.”
The performing arts were also praised. Most notably, the Orange High Marching Pioneers recently performed during a Cleveland Browns home game, and the band has been invited to perform at the 2016 Peach Bowl.
Band director Aaron Given said his middle school students have also collaborated long-distance on a piece with Texas-based composer Scott McAllister.
Given said digital media can be used to expand students’ artistic horizons.
“These students are used to hearing Justin Bieber and Katy Perry,” Given said. “But if I ask them if they’ve heard the United States Marine Band, they’ll search online and hear them on YouTube. All of the sudden, their world has changed.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.