George School students received fourteen awards in the 2022 Philadelphia Region Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards. Four were Gold Key Awards, three Silver Key Awards, and seven Honorable Mentions. There were approximately 1,500 submissions in the Philadelphia area this year, and the Gold Key represents the top 5 percent of submissions, the Silver Key represents the top 10 percent, and Honorable Mentions are the top 15 percent.
Basem Baadarani-Feeney ’22, Sophia Bediako-Maier ’22, Laurel Hutchins ’23, and Jullian Nord ’22 received Gold Key Awards. Cecilia Wang ’22 received two Silver Key Awards and one Honorable Mention. Julian Lentchner ’23 received one Silver Key Award. Basem Baadarani-Feeney ’22 received one Honorable Mention, Derek Denoon ’23 received two, Max Forstein ’23 received one, and Morgan Graves ’22 received two.
The artwork from the four Gold Key Award winners was forwarded to the National Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards contest and we are pleased to report that Jullian Nord ’22 received a Gold Medal for her painting “Breaking News” in the national competition.
Jullian credited the Arts Program at George School for giving her the confidence to move out of her comfort zone and ultimately become a better artist. “George School has helped me grow tremendously as an artist and has encouraged me to push myself and be more intentional about what I create. Presently, I paint for a variety of reasons: to comment on a social issue, to express my emotions, or simply as an escape. Art is and has always been, such a positive light in my life, and I genuinely love what I make.”
Basem Baadarani-Feeney, who won a Gold Key Award for his sculpture titled “Winter’s Truth,” credited the technique that he learned at George School that allowed his sculpting to evolve into a unique and intimate project. “This art form incorporates a range of media, which make room for so many avenues of expression such as metal, casting, clay, and found objects, all of which inspire me. It’s the subconscious mind that drives my creativity. I approach sculpture from an emotional place, the pieces I make are an embodiment of what I feel. ‘Winter’s Truth’ represents a personal emotional transformation. The process of creating encourages my emotional being to further open and express itself, where words may limit what I feel, sculpture can better communicate it.”
Director of Visual Arts & Design Danielle Picard Sheehan explained the amount of dedication that it takes both the students and educators to be recognized in the Scholastic Art Awards, “Our students work tirelessly in their respective studios to refine techniques and skills while developing critical thinking and searching for their own voices. Each student recognized should be very proud of their achievements. These awards reflect the commitment our Visual Arts teachers have to opening the minds and imaginations of our students. I am grateful to my colleagues for their dedication to their students and for keeping expression and creative thinking a keystone of our community.”
For 99 years, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have celebrated creativity and encouraged self-expression among the nation’s teens. Out of 260,000 works of art and writing this year, just under 2,000 received National Medals. Each award is a symbol of excellence and allows students to be recognized through exhibition, publication, and scholarships.