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Award-winning: MCC students recognized for artwork

May 1, 2019 GMT

SCOTTVILLE — Five Mason County Central school district students have been recognized by the Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA) for their excellence in the arts.

At the high-school level, senior Laura Marque Liste and sophomore Katelyn Gramza were both top-100 finishers at the MAEA’s Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Liste made the top 33 at the festival, which qualified her piece for the Governor’s Traveling Show for High School Works, which will tour the state for one year.

At the elementary level, fourth-grader Arianna McClennen, fifth-grader Cole VanderHaag and kindergartener Abigail Van Wyck each received top-100 honors at the statewide MAEA Statewide Elementary Art Show. McClennen made the top 15, which qualified her for the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Show, which will also be on display at the department of education for one year.

Rachel Brock, art teacher at the high school, as well as at Scottville Elementary and the Upper Elementary, oversaw the student entries into the competition, and said she’s proud of the hard work and dedication her students have committed to their respective projects.

“These are students who went above and beyond. They followed the project guidelines, but they put their own spin on it,” Brock said.

Liste, a foreign-exchange student from Spain, entered a portrait of singer Troye Sivan in a pointillism style.

“I just like that singer, and I looked up pictures of him,” Liste said. “It had a lot of shadows and highlights, and it was very interesting.”

The project took weeks for Liste to complete, according to Brock, and the senior even worked through the polar vortex that resulted in 11 closed school days.

“I had to track her down in the snow (to make the deadline),” Brock said.

Liste said that she hopes to continue to pursue art in college when she returns to Spain. Currently, she’s working on a new piece in Brock’s class — a painting of a river running through a desert mountain pass.

Gramza’s project was based on Pablo Picasso’s cubism period. The entry features overlapping and interconnected fabrics, stitched together to form a self portrait.

“I just wanted to try something different,” Gramza said. “Instead of a back-stitch or a regular stitch, I wanted to try a cross-stitch to be different from everyone else.”

She said she put a great deal of thought into the composition of the piece, which includes fabrics of different textures.

Brock said the elementary students also put considerable effort into their projects.

McClennen’s top-15 entry — a piece done during a period of study devoted to weaving and the artistic significance of tapestries — stood out because of the method that the fourth-grader used.

“Instead of just going back and forth … she overlapped and mixed yarns, so she really made it very unique compared to everyone else’s,” Brock said.

Van Wyck and VanderHaag both also surprised her, she said.

“It was the intense care that they took in their work,” Brock said. “It’s just that extra effort.”

The elementary students received certificates of recognition at an awards ceremony in Adrian, according to Brock.

Brock said all the students spent extra time fine-tuning and perfecting their pieces rather than simply meeting the minimum requirements of the assignments.

“They took the criteria that was there, but then made it their own and added their own unique touches to it, and that’s where you get to expand,” she said. “These are the students who took their projects home and worked on them, and it paid off.”