WMCAT students earn high honors in art competition

Students from GRPS schools fare well in regional recognition

'Enjoying the Polar Vortex,' Torin Hodgman, Grand Rapids Public Museum High School, Gold Key
‘False,’ Esteban Clark-Braendle, Grand Rapids Public Museum High School, Gold Key

GRPS students working in the after-school program of the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT) made an impressive showing in the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards regional competition. Nineteen students received 68 awards for their photography and ceramics through WMCAT, including 20 Gold Key awards considered for national recognition. 

City High/Middle School senior Mariah Barrera, in her fourth year at WMCAT, was recognized with seven Gold Key awards, five Silver Keys and an Honorable Mention. She also was named one of five regional nominees for American Voices & Visions medals, a best-in-show honor selected from Gold Key winners. 

“It requires courage to put your creative work out there in front of such a large audience; I’m proud of all the students who did so this year,” said Dennis Grantz, WMCAT photography teaching artist, in a statement. “There is the very real fear of rejection, so I am especially gratified to see these teen artists rewarded for their efforts, and commend them for pursuing this opportunity.”

‘Security Zone,’ Chiyanne May, Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy, Gold Key

In addition, two students reaped 12 awards representing their work at City High Middle School and Innovation Central High School’s Academy of Design & Construction. 

“Recognition like this is a testament to the value we put on arts education and the incredible community partnerships we’ve built,” said interim GRPS Superintendent Ronald Gorman.The students’ artworks will be exhibited at Kendall College of Art and Design, and honored at an awards ceremony Feb. 29 at Fountain Street Church. Gold Key works are judged nationally by a panel of experts to receive National Medals. Those honorees are recognized in part at the national ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.

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