Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Does Exposure To Competition Make You A Better Artist?

Take 50 high school seniors from nine different high schools and enter them into an art competition. Good or bad?

I guess it all depends on your point of view.

For the last nine years, the Granite School District (here in Utah) has provided an opportunity for high school seniors to participate in an annual art competition. The students are instructed to create a work of art within a four-hour window in one of the following categories:
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Mixed Media
  • Wheel Thrown Pottery
  • Hand Built Pottery
  • Sculpture

Four professional artists mentor the students for the evening; giving advise and encouragement to them, and then later the professionals serve as judges for the competition.

Do competitions like this foster growth and goodwill?
Having participated as a judge at this event for five years, I can definitely say “yes!”

Not only does this competition promote individual participation but the students also get to attend a separate luncheon/lecture where a professional artist speaks to them about the joys of exhibiting artwork and how to enjoy “the process” of creation.

These young artists also receive recognition from their respective schools (and a terrific box lunch the night of the event). There is a live student band and lots of friends and family who attend.

Last night as I visited with each student and listened to them describe what they were creating, I found myself being captivated and inspired by their versions of reality.

Without exception, each artist expressed praise for being a participant. 
 They clearly loved what they were doing!  
A few of the artists even shared with me their desire to continue on to college as an art major.

Good or bad? I’d give it a “thumbs up!”

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