Two Thomas County Central High School art students won awards during the Valdosta State University Art Department High School Regional Invitational.
Senior Bryce Gilliard won “Best of Show” with a clay sculpture called “Rooster-Woman” and senior Lyndsae Madden won first place with her charcoal drawing entitled, “Pears, Quilt and Flowers.”
“I was excited,” Gilliard said of the win. “I’ve never won a Best in Show. Before this, the highest I’ve won is for Best in Category.”
Gilliard, 18, said his sculpture is half human and half animal and he based it on old fertility sculptures. He specifically noted a Greek influence in the piece.
“I chose to do an animal rather than a human face because I’d never done one before,” Gilliard said. “I wanted to do something different. I thought of other animals but I chose the rooster because I thought that head shape worked best to bring balance to the sculpture.”
He also felt the turquoise acrylic paint he used for the head helped make his sculpture stand out.
“I think it had a lot of features that are very unusual and garnered attention,” Gilliard said. “Whether you like the piece or not, it caught your attention and I think the turquoise feathers really made it pop.”
Gilliard wants to be a dentist and said, when looking into the field, a requirement is to show mobile dexterity. He thinks doing art classes where he works with his hands will help him when it comes time to pursue his career goal.
Madden, 17, also expressed excitement for her win.
“It was awesome,” she said. “That is the first piece I’ve done in charcoal! To find out that I won was pretty cool.”
She thinks her focus on the “really small details” made her piece stand out from others.
“I really like the contrast of the really dark and really light aspects of it,” Madden said. “I like the shape of the flowers, the basket and all the elements. I think the attention to detail and the depth of the picture – how many objects were in it and how involved it was – made it stand out.”
Madden is considering a career in art therapy and interior design. She said art classes help her learn about textures, colors and how they work together, which are skills that will be useful in her chosen career field.
The event was for southwest Georgia and north Florida high schools. It featured 158 works from 10 high schools, according to Bill Shenton, artistic administrator at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts. Teachers were limited to 12 pieces, with no more than two per student submitted.
“This is a wonderful event for our students to participate in, since they can see student works from around the region,” TCCHS art teacher Jocelyn Rivard said. “It inspires the students to see other media and how they used it.”
The exhibit’s opening reception was held Feb 23 and garnered approximately 800 attendees, Shenton said.
All the works will be on display now until May 23 at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, 527 N. Patterson St., in Valdosta. The exhibit is located in the Price-Campbell Foundation Gallery.