Students' creativity comes into focus for Towson arts showcase

Paintings, charcoal drawings, photography and mixed media works lined the walls of the Towson Arts Collective on March 9, but it was the smiling faces of more than 200 students, parents and teachers that lit up the room for the debut of the third annual Young Artists Showcase.

Sponsored by the Timonium Optimists and Towson Arts Collective, the showcase gives high schools, whether public or private, in Baltimore County and Baltimore City, a chance to have artists display their work in a gallery and compete for prizes.

The show, which runs through March 20, opened at the Towson Arts Collective Gallery with an award ceremony that brought all the artists together to view each others' works and enjoy light refreshments.

"Students get excited to see their work on display in a gallery in a real show," said Joanne Paull, chairwoman of the event for the Timonium Optimists. "It gives them recognition for what they've done, and encourages their talent."

Friday's gallery opening drew an estimated 225 people to celebrate this year's entries. Everyone enjoyed seeing the various works, all mounted and framed, filling the galleries walls.

"You see different ways of seeing things. I love it," said Dan Bollinger, a senior at Loyola Blakefield High School, who entered a print entitled "Door Reflections."

Bridget McManus agreed. A Dulaney High School senior, she entered an oil painting, "Three Season."

"I love seeing art from different schools," McManus said. "It is good to see other people's art work and how they use different mediums."

"I really like seeing art work from people my own age," agreed Isabelle LaBonte-Clark, a sophomore at Bryn Mawr School, who entered an untitled print. "I hope they continue it."

The Timonium Optimists started the showcase, Paull said, as an extension of the organization's community service. Typically known for oratorical contests and speeches, the club wanted to recognize students for creative expression, as well.

Nine awards were given Friday in categories of drawings/graphics, photography and painting/mixed media. The judge for the contest was photographer Linda Day Clark, an art professor at Coppin State University.

"The Optimist Club came to us and said they wanted to do this," said Diane Margiotta, exhibit coordinator and board member for the Towson Arts Collective. "The show has just grown over the last three years. I can't wait to see what these talented kids do in the future."

Lorianna Livingston, a senior at Hereford High School, knows she will be heading to Mississippi State in the fall. With a second-place finish for her painting, "Three Seasons," Livingston said she also knows she will continue painting.

"I'm very excited," she said of her win. "There was stiff competition."

A sophomore at Towson High School, Ian Detwiler has been drawing most of his life. His "Self Portrait" entry in the showcase was his first attempt in charcoal.

"I wasn't used to it at first. It turned out all right," Detwiler said of his drawing. "My teachers thought it was good, so I decided to enter it."

Amanda Rae, a sophomore at Hereford High School, won second place for her charcoal drawing entitled "Breathe Out." It wasn't the first win for the sophomore, however.

"I entered a poster contest at Hereford Public Library," Rae admitted of a contest from her youth. "There was a lot of glitter."

The Young Artists Showcase exhibition will run through March 30 at the Towson Arts Collective Gallery, located on the lower level of 406 York Road, Towson. Gallery hours are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m., or by appointment by calling 410-916-6340. Admission is free.

The exhibition includes works by 75 students, representing 28 public and independent high schools. The winning artists are:

Drawing/Graphics — Nysah Warren, Randallstown High School, first place; Amanda Rae, Hereford High School, second; and Tyra Bell, Garrison Forest School, third.

Photography — James Gordon, Parkville High School, first; Erin Discordia, Owings Mills High School, second; and Katie McFaul, Perry Hall High School, third.

Painting/Mixed Media — Catherine DiPietro, Garrison Forest School, first; Lorianna Livingston, Hereford High School, second; and Walker Halstad, St. Paul's School, third.

Each winner was given a framed award certificate and a monetary prize, or in the case of first place for photography, a digital camera kit donated by Service Photo of Hampton. Other prize donors included Utrecht Art Supply of Baltimore, Plaza Artists Materials and Framing of Towson, Towson Arts Collective and the Optimist Club of Timonium.

All nine winners also received resolutions from the Maryland General Assembly, courtesy of 42nd District State Dels. Susan Aumann, William Frank and Stephen Lafferty.

Schools represented in the showcase are the Academy of College and Career Exploration, Bryn Mawr, Calvert Hall, Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Dulaney, Eastern Technology, Forest Park, Garrison Forest, Hereford, Institute of Notre Dame Preparatory, Kenwood, Loch Raven, Loyola, Maryvale, Notre Dame, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Overlea, Owings Mills, Parkville, Patapsco Center for the Arts, Perry Hall, Randallstown, Roland Park Country School, St. Paul's, St. Paul's School for Girls, St. Timothy's, Towson and the Western School for Technology and Environmental Science.

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