Monday, January 21, 2013
DMA’s Young Masters exhibition spotlights emerging Plano ISD artists
Of 620 submissions, 56 pieces were selected for display.
DALLAS When Plano West senior Swetha Nelakanti heard her piece would be displayed in the Dallas Museum of Art's Young Masters exhibition, she couldn't have anticipated it would connect her with one of her inspirations.
Nelakanti's piece, a flower-shaped sculpture made entirely of toothpicks, was modeled after the work of Franceska McCullough, a North Texas artist who makes large-scale toothpick sculptures.
"I thought it was really cool that she used such a simple medium to make an intricate piece," Nelakanti said.
McCullough came across Nelakanti's piece during a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art and noticed she was cited as an influence in the accompanying artist's statement. McCullough then contacted Nelakanti to offer her congratulations and to invite her to an upcoming event at her gallery.
"I got feedback from her, which was a great honor; [for] her to see my artwork and say it was really good," Nelakanti said.
Nelakanti is one of 23 Plano ISD AP students whose work will be displayed at the museum through Feb. 17. The exhibition drew 620 submissions, but only 56 pieces were selected for display.
For her selected self-portrait, "Hurtful Voices, Brief Hurtful Words," Plano Senior senior Jordon Margotta dug deep into her past, rendering in colored pencil the "raw emotion" that came with the bullying she had experienced.
Margotta said she hopes the display of the piece will cause others to view her as a more professional, serious artist.
"I used a technique that was really realistic, instead of drawing in a cartoony way," she said. "I emphasized lots of emotion in the face. My eyes kind of a frown almost, and my pupils are dilated. My mouth is open almost in a screaming kind of way."
Submissions for the exhibition are open to students in AP studio art, art history and music theory programs at the 12 Dallas-area high schools that that participate in the O'Donnell Foundation's AP Arts Incentive Program and AP Strategies Grant.
Ted Kincaid, director of the fine arts program at Plano West, said the quality of work coming from students in all performing and visual arts programs is "amazing," adding that he is proud whenever a student's work is displayed.
"The schools and districts that participate in the AP Strategies Grant are extremely fortunate, because the Young Masters exhibit gives the students a place to display their work that is totally different than any other high school contest," he said. "It's a professional exhibit that's seen by literally tens of thousands."
Kyle Clark, AP art teacher at Plano Senior High, said showcasing student work at the museum gives students gallery experience and provides a great resume opportunity.
An awards ceremony will be held for the students Feb. 5, at which time first, second and third place winners will be announced in addition to honorable mentions.
"My personal opinion is they're all winners, because they're all having their work displayed in the museum," Clark said.
The students' will be on display in the concourse of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood St. in Dallas, through Feb. 17. Admission to the concourse is free, though normal admission fees apply to museum galleries through Jan. 20.
For information about the Young Masters exhibition, visit apstrategiesarts.org. For information on the Dallas Museum of Art, visit DMA.org or call 214-922-1803.
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