South graduate part of artistic elite

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 8, 2012

 This piece by South graduate Margaux Forster has earned national recognition. It is a photo of Forster’s dog, Winston.

This piece by South graduate Margaux Forster has earned national recognition. It is a photo of Forster’s dog, Winston.

GROSSE POINTES — Margaux Forster never imagined that a photograph she took one beautiful day of her dog, Winston, would cause such a stir in the art world.

Boy, was she wrong.

Forster, a 2012 graduate of Grosse Pointe South, has been recognized on many levels and the latest news has her among the top young artists in the country. The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities chose Forster’s piece as one of 44 student works from students around the country for a special exhibit called Art.Write.Now.DC.

“I shot this piece a couple summers ago,” Forster said in an email. “I was hanging out with my friend and noticed how my dog was laying. He always lays like that, but it was such a beautiful sunny day that I had to take a picture.

“I took it from a couple different angles and the overhead one seemed the most quirky and intriguing,” she said. “There really isn’t a concept to this picture. It is just a feel-good photograph of a happy dog. But the success of this photograph helped me realize how successful I could be if I pursued art.”

Forster’s work was recognized in the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which is where the 44 pieces were pulled from for the latest level of recognition.

The chosen students were recognized in Washington, D.C., last month.

“When I first found out about the National Gold Medal for Scholastics back in the spring, I was stunned,” Forster said. “I had never imagined that it would reach that level of success.

“I was simply honored and I couldn’t stop smiling,” Forster added. “And now finding out about this more recent award, again, I am stunned. It still amazes me. I simply took this picture one day and thought it was cool, and apparently so do many other people. I am so grateful to all the people that have supported me.”

Forster was considering studying education, but the confidence she has gained from the success of her artwork has changed her plans. She is currently studying “advertising with a specialization in design and a concentration in photography,” she said.

Forster isn’t the only one excited about the latest recognition of her work, which she completed during her years as an art student at South.

Art teacher Kit Aro was also happy when she heard the news. While they have had many award-winning artists at various levels at South, this is the second time in recent years that one of Aro’s art students have been invited to the nation’s capital to be honored. The other, Melissa Bryan, is currently an art student at Carnegie Mellon University.

“I am extremely honored to work with smart and gifted students at South who love seeing, thinking, problem solving and pushing themselves to find their own style and message,” Aro said. “I am proud of Margaux’s (Advanced Placement Program) 2D Design portfolio, which she created about beauty in everyday moments.

“Like so many of these smart, motivated and creative AP art kids, she developed her technical knowledge, her eye for design and her portfolio idea to get college credit, but won many awards, as well,” Aro said. “Margaux has won the highest possible award this fall, with a Presidential Committee award on top of her National Gold Medal. That makes me very proud of her, but of her classmates, too, who pushed each other to find their unique voices and styles.”

Aro has high hopes for Forster’s future. She can use her artistic skills to pursue her career goals, Aro said.

Forster said she wanted to thank her parents and art teachers at the high school for supporting her artwork.

“They have been at every award ceremony and every showing,” Forster said. “I would also like to thank my art teachers at Grosse Pointe South for pushing me to do my best. I don’t think I would be where I am right now if it weren’t for the art program and teachers.”

She also didn’t want to forget to thank Winston “for being the best dog a girl could ask for.”