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Cole Student-Artists Win Recognition

With eight awards, Cole Middle School received more than any other school in the state.


Seven art students at Cole Middle School have been honored with Scholastic Art Awards, one student receiving two awards. It is a record for the school, art teacher Nina Reiner said.

Some of the winners are longtime — relatively speaking — artists who’ve maybe even won an award before. But at least one of the Cole Middle School students who recently won an award for her work signed up for this year just to try something different.

“I did art because I wanted to try something new,” said eighth grader Lauren Keenan. “I liked doing it in elementary school.” She earned a silver key in ceramics in the process.

It’s no small honor, according to art teacher Karen Murtha. “It’s very prestigious, very,” she said. “It’s difficult to get in.”

There are three art teachers at Cole and each teacher is only able to submit five pieces to a panel of professional artists and teachers who then award Gold and Silver keys and the special American Visions award. The work is judged on originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal vision.

Devin Kasparian got an award last year; this year he got two: He earned a Silver Key for sculpture and one in mixed media.

“It was kind of a collage of different pieces of a magazine,” Kasparian said about his mixed media piece. “First I sketched out a face and then I put it on and it was a self-portrait.”

Fionna Chan, a seventh grader, earned a Silver Key for sculpture.

Seventh grader Peri Sheinin earned a Gold Key and the American Visions award in printmaking. “We did prints in elementary school but it wasn’t that serious,” said Sheinin. “I never carved before. We carved in linoleum. Then we took paints and we rubbed the paint on the linoleum. Then we put a blank piece of paper over it and it copied it.”

Eighth grader Erin Kalander received a Silver Key in drawing. “I like art, but I never really drew before and I usually painted or something,” she said. “I liked the drawing that we did, though. It was a self portrait, but with surrealism.”

Kristin Carosotto got a Gold Key in sculpture for a piece she made last year as a seventh grader. “It was out of metal. I’ve never really worked with metal before. It was an interesting experience,” she said. “I thought it was really fun. There was a lot of detail.”

Eighth grader John Hare got a Gold Key for a wooden sculpture he made. “We had to take wooden craft sticks and glue them together to make something and I made a wolf out of the popsicle sticks.”

The students were honored at a ceremony at Salve Regina University on Jan. 22. Their work, along with the works of other winners, will be exhibited at the campus art gallery through Feb. 5.

Also honored was Angela Gesualdo, whose artwork was chosen to be part of a nationwide exhibit in New York City for Youth Art Month, which happens in March.

The Cole art teachers are Nina Reiner, Dale DiNapoli, and Karen Murtha.

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