Visual Artist honored with Scholastic Arts National Portfolio Gold Key Award

Interlochen, Mich. – Interlochen Arts Academy visual arts student, Shawn Smith, was one of twelve high school seniors from across the nation to be honored with a Gold Portfolio Award from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. 

Smith entered his work under the art portfolio category, which is open to graduating high school seniors. The contest required that he submit eight works of art from any medium. The pieces were evaluated by a panel that included several noted artists and art critics. They judged the works on the basis of three criteria: originality, technical skills, and the “emergence of a personal vision or voice.” 

Smith’s portfolio focused on jewelry design and won competitions at the regional level before advancing to the national level. Although he initially came to Interlochen for drawing and painting, he became more and more interested in the medium after taking a metalworking class at the Arts Academy. 

“Shawn stands out because of his artistic energy and the edginess of his work,” said Kaz McCue, director of the visual arts department at Interlochen Center for the Arts. “His recognition through this contest is a tribute to his individual approach to materials and his connection to his work.” 

Each Gold Award winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship and special recognition. To celebrate the Awards' 85th anniversary, Smith’s work will be showcased at three Manhattan galleries along with selected works from other students. Smith and the other awardees will participate in a special ceremony on June 5 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. 

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards offer early recognition of creative teenagers and scholarship opportunities for graduating high school seniors. The awards program is national in scope and administered by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers in partnership with 77 regional affiliate organizations. 

A graduating senior, Smith plans to continue his studies in the visual arts this fall. He plans to attend either the School of the Art Institute of Chicago or the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. 

Students in the visual arts division at Interlochen Center for the Arts learn from a distinguished faculty and benefit from an active visiting artist program. Intense studio experience gives students an opportunity to develop a portfolio, prepare for college and explore career options.

A new 33,600 square foot facility, the Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts, is under construction and will include specialized studio space for a variety of visual arts disciplines. It will also house 1,700 square feet of new gallery space and 3,600 square feet of outdoor instructional space. Moveable walls will allow the facility to be configured differently during Camp and Academy.

Interlochen Arts Academy attracts exceptionally talented and motivated students from nearly every state and more than 20 other countries to study creative writing, music, dance, visual arts, theatre, motion picture arts and college-preparatory academics.