The Creative Arts at Shorecrest: Winning Student Artwork Highlights Shorecrest’s Incredible Arts Program

By: Sara Rose

The creative students of the Studio Arts program at Shorecrest continue to surprise and delight the Shorecrest community with their stunning pieces. A special congratulations to the winners of all of the creative departments here at Shorecrest (studio art, digital art, photography, ceramics, etc.) who took part in the Scholastic Art Awards of 2021-2022, as listed below!

The Studio Art department awards:

Benny Ames: Gold Key – Drawing & Illustration

                         Gold Key – Digital Art

                          Honorable Mention – Painting

                          Honorable Mention – Drawing & Illustration

Lillee Burkett:  Honorable Mention – Painting

Ashli McKenny: Gold Key – Drawing & Illustration

                             Gold Key – Mixed Media

                             Honorable Mention – Mixed Media

Sara Rose: Gold Key – Painting

                     Gold Key – Painting

                     Gold Key – Painting

                     Silver Key – Painting

                     Silver Key – Painting

Duncan Walsh:Silver Key – Drawing & Illustration

I asked Maya Verano if she could give us some background information on the creation of her beautiful self-portrait. She said, “For this piece, we were asked to do a self-portrait. I’m in Studio Art, so it’s my first real piece. It was super fun to do! To make this self-portrait, I used charcoal and pencil, taking around two weeks of art class periods to complete.” Maya went on to express, “The art course is my favorite class, just because it’s so relaxing and it’s something different than the day-to-day core classes.” Charla Gaglio works and supports every student, old and new, inexperienced and experienced, in order to achieve this positive behavior and mindset. 


Maya Verano shows off her impressive self-portrait (Photo by Sara Rose)

Duncan Walsh described the joy of creating his self-portrait when he said, “I wanted to do a self-portrait, but I didn’t want to do a traditional piece. So I looked through my phone and found a photo and thought it would be pretty fun to draw! It was all pencil, no charcoal, used with variety. This piece took around two and a half to three weeks. This course is one of my favorite classes! There is obviously pressure to do well and do your best art, but I feel like it’s a very manageable level. It’s all you, and you know that you can achieve it. This course encourages you to be the best you.” 


Duncan Walsh stands in front of his unique self-portrait (Photo by Sara Rose)

Mikhail Whyte showed his hidden talents through his crafty and meaningful piece. “I’ve been working with a lot of faces lately. I wanted this piece to be about how a person perceives themselves. When it comes to materials, I used some thrifted table cloth, charcoal, some corduroy cloth, as well as some cloth I burned myself. I started a month ago but it took me around three weeks to put everything together. In this course, I get to do whatever I want, be as creative as I want, and there’s some frustration that comes with that, but it helps me to grow.” Along with aiding the students in their work, Charla Gaglio keeps the classroom busy with hard work, humor, and untamed energy that is unique to her classroom. Through this charisma, she builds unforgettable friendships with her students and allows every student to self-express in the healthiest manner. As a result, we now have students, like Mikhail, finding his voice through combining cloth, design, and traditional art to create something more personal and real.


Mikhail Whyte stands next to his thought-provoking piece (Photo by Sara  Rose)

Ashli McKenny reflected on the meaning behind her piece, “This piece is about black culture and empowerment. It is about the fight for human rights. The newspaper I used in order to make this contains news about the civil rights movement. I used oil, charcoal, and newspaper. It took about a week to make. I’ve been working with Ms. G [Charla Gaglio] for four years, and I’ve grown so much. It’s a nice environment to learn in as well, and I’ve learned many new techniques and skills.” Ashley has learned to understand what works best for her as shown through her unique and beautiful use of newspaper and charcoal, media we do not see very much on canvases. 


Ashli McKenny with her empowering art piece. (Photo by Sara Rose)

Benny Ames describes his eye-catching piece by revealing, “This piece was an homage to my bass that I got. My grandpa played bass, and I’ve just started learning. I used acrylic paint, and it took around three weeks to produce. In class, you as an individual have lots of artistic freedom and can learn a lot quickly!” Benny discussed how much this family heirloom meant to him, along with many of his other pieces which symbolize a more personal power and self-expression.


Benny Ames pays homage to his special bass in this creative piece (Photo by Sara Rose)

As demonstrated by the rawly spoken, talented artists of Shorecrest, Ms. Gaglio’s Studio Art course allows all people to find and express their voice, grit, and passion to grow through a new and thrilling perspective of education. Through this course, the students have demonstrated their greatness as academic performers and creative beings. The sacrifices of healthy vulnerability learned in the course, especially in their reflective, young days as teenagers, has helped the students learn to acknowledge art and its ever-shifting form of expression, the ways it can support their lives, and the great yet subtle eternal effects that they can take with them in and outside of the Shorecrest community. 

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