37th Annual Teen Art Competition at CFAC

Nancy Keefe Rhodes 05/19/09More articles
(At right, Angela Brangman's drawing "Playground" won Best of Show as well as First Place in its category. Photo by Steve Sartori, used with permission.)

Long-time Syracuse photographer Marjory Wilkins has been missing from public events for several months due to health concerns, but on Saturday she was back.

“Go look! They’re wonderful!” she exclaimed, waving me toward the wall in the front gallery where many of the photo entries hung.

Community Folk Art Center curator Gina Stankivitz had told me earlier in the week that this year’s competition had more schools and youth arts programs, more entries, and more varieties of art than usual. The rise in photo and print entries may be due in part to the Way to Go Photography Program taught by Kimber Gunn. The photo first place winner, Corcoran senior Vaughn’Disa Sanders’ “The Skin I’m In,” came out of Way to Go, and Marjory Wilkins was particularly taken with Sanders’ large grid of young people’s portraits in color against a dark background.

This year, 13 area high schools and youth arts programs entered 126 pieces of art – paintings, watercolors, drawings in a range of media, ceramics, photos, prints and this year, for the first time, fashion and hair-style.

Inspired by Jeffrey Mayer’s Marie Antoinette exhibition last fall at the Everson Museum, “Marie Meets Mauriska at the 12th Night Ball” is a three-mannequin extravaganza created by the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central’s Jazmine Jackson, Jhane Hammons, Katie Robbins, Shakayla Mitchell, Mahleka Dorsey, Adrianna Benton, and Anellys Olivo. Dr. Khelli Willetts presented the special CFAC Director’s Award to “Marie Meets Mauriska,” which also took first place in “3D.”

The Eclectic Award went to Lafayette student Courtney Lyons for her presentation of hand-made cards of shell design combining prints, Sumie ink and ribbon, and first place in painting went to Henninger High School's Kathleen Cruz for “Retreat.”

Best of Show and first place in its category went to Angela Brangman for “Playground,” a large black and white drawing of startling verve and accomplishment that captures two children in the midst of whirlwind play on a jungle gym. The Jamesville-DeWitt senior has entered this competition for four years now. Next fall she’ll go on to Syracuse University to study graphic design. Brangman’s father is an artist and both her parents spoke on Saturday about the importance of taking seriously the artistic aspirations of young people.

Nearly four decades ago, CFAC founder Herb Williams had that same idea. Together with three art teachers, Charles Wollowitz, Roberta Braen and Nancy Peck of Nottingham and Corcoran High Schools, Williams developed an annual arts competition for African American, Asian, Latino and Native American high school students in Central New York. Now this competition is supported by part by NYSCA funding and sponsorship from WAER Syracuse FM 88.3. And for some years now it’s had the enthusiastic, hands-on support of the Syracuse chapter of Links, Inc.

Links is an international association of 12,000 professional women of color in 273 chapters in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, South Africa and the Bahamas. The two-dozen-strong Syracuse Links chapter dates from 1959 and awards scholarships to high school seniors as well as supporting this annual art competition.

“This is really our signature project, and we’re very proud of these young people,” said Syracuse Links president Lorraine Coleman after she and Joann May distributed awards. “And we’re proud that the Syracuse Federation of Women’s Club recognizes how important a project like this is too.”

Coleman said that the Links’ role in sustaining this annual art competition is the reason that the Federation honored the Syracuse Links with the Anne Oberlander Cup this year, its own nod dating from the late 40s to organized women’s projects that make a crucial difference in the community. Sixteen of the Syracuse Links were there on Saturday – at one point Marjory Wilkins had them lined up to snap a group portrait – and they had one more award to give out.

Entertainment for Saturday’s opening came in the form of two dance solos by 14-year-old Ashley Green and 13-year-0ld Caroline Charles, both members of the Kuumba Dancers. Each performed the two-minute self-choreographed pieces they’d used to audition for the NYS Summer School for the Arts. Both these young women has been working with dance instructor/choreographer Cheryl Wilkins-Mitchell for a number of years now; their performances Saturday left little doubt about why Links presented Wilkins-Mitchell with it community service award, and Wilkins-Mitchell used the award to make a point.

“My family says all I know how to do is talk dance, eat, drink, and sleep dance, and I’m glad I do,” said Wilkins-Mitchell. “I read in the paper this morning that young artists are having a hard time finding jobs. So our next step is to make sure our young graduates in all the fine arts have jobs when they finish school.”

There are plenty of names to look out for in this year’s exhibition. It’s one of those times we get to see our children in a new way.

This article appears in the May 21, 2009 print edition of the Syracuse City Eagle on page 17. The 37th Annual Teenage Competitive Art Exhibition is on view through June 13 at Community Folk Art Center, 805 E. Genesee St., Tues-Fri 10-5, Sat 11-5. Nancy covers the arts. Reach her at nancykeeferhodes.


2-D Category: Drawing

1st Place: Angela Brangman, "Playground," Jamesville-Dewitt HS
2nd: Amanda Tan, "Who Spilled the Coffee Beans?", Jamesville-Dewitt HS
3rd: Bumkoth Jiak, "Boot," Jamesville-Dewitt HS
Honorable Mention: Hoang Phan, "Self Portrait," Henninger HS

2-D Category: Painting

1st: Kathleen Cruz, "Retreat," Henninger HS
2nd: Soe Lwin, "City in Burma," Nottingham HS
3rd: Monica Papineau, "Julius," LaFayette J-S HS
Honorable Mention: Julia Ma, "Flowers," Fayetteville-Manlius HS

2-D Category Prints/Photography/Mixed Media

1st: Vaughn Disa Sanders, "The Skin I'm In," Way To Go Photography Program
2nd: Yi Yi Than, "Beautiful Life," Nottingham HS
3rd: Sarah Bell, "Against Us," Way To Go Photography Program
Honorable Mention: Aimee Sy, "Betty Boop," Jamesville-DeWitt HS

3-D Category

1st: Adrianna Benton, Karen Conroy, Mahleka Dorsey, Shakayla Mitchell, Anellys Olivo, Sara Orr, Macaela Rahrle, Katie Robbins (Fashion Design); Jasmine Barnes, Sherrain Clark, Rachel McMillan, Shirjuana M. Shepherd (Hair Design), "Marie Meets Mauriska," Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central
2nd: Dhwani Jariwala, "Marching of Elephants," Fayetteville-Manlius HS
3rd: Vivek Nayar, "The Bandit," Fayetteville-Manlius HS
Honorable Mention: Yasmin Shukri, "Thoughtful," Fayetteville-Manlius HS

Eclectic Award: Courtney Lyons, "Sumi-e Shells," LaFayette J-S HS

Best of Show: Angela Brangman, "Playground"

CFAC Directors' Award: Adrianna Benton, Karen Conroy, Mahleka Dorsey, Shakayla Mitchell, Anellys Olivo, Sara Orr, Macaela Rahrle, Katie Robbins (Fashion Design); Jasmine Barnes, Sherrain Clark, Rachel McMillan, Shirjuana M. Shepherd (Hair Design), "Marie Meets Mauriska"

TAGS: Community Folk Art Center, Links Inc, NYSCA, teen art competition, Angela Brangman, Vaugh'Disa Sanders, Marjory Wilkins, Cheryl Wilkins-Mitchell, Kuumba Dancers, Caroline Charles, Ashley Green
EDITION: The Eagle

Rating: 3.3/5 (11 votes cast)

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