UCS art students get top awards at regional art contest

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published January 27, 2016

 Sophomore Darby Gilkinson displays her ceramics piece, “Cronus,” which won a Golden Key.

Sophomore Darby Gilkinson displays her ceramics piece, “Cronus,” which won a Golden Key.


If Michigan’s thumb could grip a painter’s brush, it would have to work skillfully in order to match the talents of several winning Utica Community Schools art students who took top awards at the Thumb Region Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest.

According to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards honors creative teens in grades seven through 12.

Utica High School art teacher Jennifer Allore said the regional contest is a juried art show that involves Macomb, St. Clair, Huron, Sanilac and Lapeer counties. She said the contest judges student artwork and awards the best Gold Key, Silver Key or Honorable Mention titles.

In addition, the contest bestowed American Vision Awards to only five students at the regional contest who also received Gold Keys. Allore said it is very rare for multiple students from Utica High School to be honored that way.

“Thousands of artworks get submitted every year,” she said. “It’s considered best of show.”

Three Utica High School students’ work earned American Vision Awards: Kathryn Seib’s sculpture “Gregory the Chimp,” Calum Clow’s painting “The Darkest Corner” and Jackson Hintz’s animated film “Loneliness.”

Seib, 16, said she was elated by the news. She described “Gregory the Chimp” as a papier mache sculpture that is approximately a foot tall, and the chimp figure is “just kind of sitting, collecting his thoughts.”

Seib said she made the sculpture during an art class last year. She said that while she worked in papier mache when she was young, she had never created something on this level before.

“It was really frustrating, actually, to work with the newspaper in the beginning,” she said. “When I started painting on it, it was a little easier.”

Clow, 18, said his painting was inspired by the theme of loneliness. He said he expressed this theme by painting a male figure with his hands on his face in a dark corner.

Clow said he hopes to incorporate art into his future career.

“I want to become an art therapist,” he said, “so I plan on double-majoring in art and psychology in college.”

Hintz’s animated film expressed that same emotion through illustrations and poetry. Although Hintz, 18, is a senior at Utica High School, he attends the Utica Center for Science and Industry, and he credited Utica CSI multimedia production teacher Mike Allore for his guidance.

Hintz said he has been writing poetry since he was a kid, and he said he created “Loneliness” to explain to his family and loved ones how much they mean to him. He said it’s “awesome” to be honored through the contest if it helps restore interest in the art of poetry.

“I feel like it’s almost a dying art, but I think it can be revived if we approach it the right way,” he said. “What I was aiming to do was make it so it’s there, and so (the audience) can get to it easily, but it still goes into a deeper meaning, and they can still gain something from it.”

Allore said the winners’ work will go on to be adjudicated at the  national level.

Find out more about Utica High School by visiting www.utica k12.org or by calling (586) 797-1000.