ArtsFeb 17, 2023

updated Nov 20, 2023

2023 Scholastic Art Awards

Miss Hall’s Students honored in centennial statewide competition

(Us In This Very Exact Moment: Neylan, Viola Quiles ’23)

Four MHS student artists have been recognized in the 2023 Massachusetts Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, sponsored by The Boston Globe and presented by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.

Congratulations to:

  • Viola Quiles ’23, Gold Key for the photograph, “Us In This Very Exact Moment: Neylan,” and an Honorable Mention for the photograph, “Us In This Very Exact Moment: Jenelee”
  • Leandra Nurhadityo ’24, Silver Key for the painting, “Sacred Ground,” and an Honorable Mention for the digital illustration, “The Pumpkin Carver”
  • April Harwood ’23, Honorable Mention for the ceramic piece, “Joe the Pirate Who Sits Outside the Gas Station and Plays Guitar”
  • Sutra Chakma ’24, Honorable Mention for the painting, “A Marma (Indigenous) Saleswoman at Mahalchhari Market”

Their pieces were among more than 10,500 entries submitted by students statewide for the annual contest. In all, the Massachusetts regional competition featured more than 7,300 submissions in the arts categories and nearly 3,200 submissions in the writing categories, with students earning 1,602 Honorable Mentions, 1084 Silver Keys, and 718 Gold Keys.

Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts. Students from across the United States, U.S. Territories, and Canada participate, with awards presented in 28 categories, including editorial cartoon, drawing and illustration, photography, and more.

(Leandra Nurhadityo ’24)

Leandra’s Silver Key oil painting was inspired during Winter Break of 2021-22, when her travel plans fell through. She stayed on campus throughout the break and spent much of her time in the Art Studio, putting her creative energies to work.

“Initially, I was just trying to create something for my Studio Art II class, but it ended up being better than I expected,” recalls Leandra, who found that the piece conveyed a lot of emotion. “It was one of my more serious pieces for that class, because it is modeled on a friend and represents memories of friendship.”

The Pumpkin Carver

“The Pumpkin Carver,” created for Hallmark Art Intensive class, is based on a character Leandra created from a play she wrote last year. Interested in writing and filmmaking, Leandra also is also deeply curious about color and color theory. “Especially with a digital piece, I could make the color as vibrant as I wanted,” she added, when asked about the piece’s striking orange tones.

Typically working in oil paint, preferring its boldness and opacity to that of watercolor, Leandra often creates work for exhibitions outside of MHS and in her home country of Indonesia. “I like creating art and feel like I am drawn to it,” she explains. “I also like learning about art history and about art techniques, and I really enjoy being creative.”

(Viola Quiles ’23)

It was the second Scholastic Gold Key for Viola, who received an award last year for her photo, “Hermano?” An MHS review board for that project, created in the fall of 2021 for Hallmark Art Intensive, inspired the Spring of 2022 project — “Us in This Very Exact Moment” — that yielded Viola’s latest award-winning photos.

Viola recruited nine friends — Neylan ’22, Sam D. ’22, Sam K. ’22, Sophia ’22, Bethania ’23, Jenelee ’23, Kali ’23, Ollie ’23, and Viv ’23 — who helped shape her MHS experiences. Throughout the semester, she arranged photoshoots in which she could capture each of her subjects in ways that mirrored her MHS experiences: authentic, strong, bold, vulnerable.

Ellie Kreischer

“I was starting to have the feeling of becoming a senior and wanting to hold onto everything,” said Viola, who was also inspired by visits with her great grandmother, looking at photos from throughout her life, and recognizing the power of an image to take the viewer to a place. “I had this feeling that everything is fleeting,” she added, “so how do I hold onto it for a little bit?”

Of her Silver-Key photo, Viola particularly likes how comfortable, natural, and relaxed Jen looks, the light and shadows capturing the scene exactly as she intended. Neylan is her favorite photo, especially the striking definition and contrast in light on her subject’s shoulders, and the strength and energy they convey.

“What I enjoy most about photography is making a connection with the person you are working with, seeing the end result, and bringing them out of their shell a little bit,” said Viola, who also acknowledged the poignant nature of her work with her friends. “With photographs, you can look at them and be right back there in that moment with them.”

Gold Key work from this year’s Scholastic competition will be on exhibit March 18-25 at the Tufts University campus in Medford. It will also be submitted to the national Scholastic competition held in New York City.

Scholastic Art Awards 2023

Four MHS students have been recognized in the 2023 Massachusetts Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, sponsored by The Boston Globe and presented by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Congratulations to Viola Quiles ’23, who received a Gold Key and an Honorable mention; Leandra Nurhadityo ’24, who received a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention; and April Harwood ’23 and Sutra Chakma ’24, who each received Honorable Mentions. Viola’s Gold Key photograph now goes on to the national Scholastic competition held in New York City. Congratulations to all who submitted work.