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Draper Journal

High school seniors encouraged to submit artwork to Draper Visual Arts Foundation competition

Feb 29, 2024 02:02PM ● By Katherine Weinstein

Seniors from area high schools posed with their works of art at the 2023 Art Scholar Competition reception. (Photo by Kamette Harmer/Draper Visual Arts Foundation)

Draper Visual Arts Foundation is seeking to spread the word about the upcoming 25th Annual Art Scholar Competition a little early this year. The goal is to encourage more students to submit their works of art and also to give them advance notice to complete pieces in time for the competition. High school seniors in public and private high schools within the Canyons School District area are invited to submit their work by the April 20 deadline.

The Art Scholar Competition accepts works of art in three categories: two-dimensional art works such as paintings, drawings or prints; three-dimensional pieces including woodworking, jewelry, pottery and sculpture; and photography and digital art. Crafts such as knitting, crocheting and quilting will not be accepted.

Interested students must complete an online application and deliver their works of art to Draper City Hall by Monday, April 22. The public is invited to see the art which will be displayed in the foyer of city hall from April 22 through 29. 

On April 29, a panel of judges comprised of local artists will select the prize winners. An awards ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. in the Draper City Council room. The cash prizes offered by Draper Visual Arts Foundation range from $100 to $1,000. 

Draper Visual Arts Foundation board member Jenny Haase commented, “The Art Scholar Competition is just one way that we’ve been working to promote young artists.” In previous years, the foundation also sponsored art classes for elementary and middle school students. 

“We’ve seen firsthand what a difference it makes when a teacher encourages a student,” she added. “In fact, Draper Visual Arts Foundation was founded by three retired school teachers.” 

The nonprofit organization was initially formed in 1992 when former teachers Jean Hendricksen, Mary Sjoblom and Hulda Crossgrove determined to preserve artworks which had been collected by Draper students over decades. The art had been left to languish in storage when the old Park School closed. 

Today, Draper Visual Arts Foundation’s mission is to conserve, promote and celebrate art in Draper. The role of art teachers in local schools is central to fulfilling that mission. Haase acknowledged their efforts. “We so appreciate the art teachers,” she said.

Tim McNeill, who teaches drawing, woodworking and guitar making at Corner Canyon High School, said of the Art Scholar Competition, “I really like to get my students involved in this competition. It builds their confidence and raises the bar. Even if they don’t win they still perform better.” 

“We usually enter in the sculpture section,” McNeill continued. “We’ve entered a number of things that have done really well.” 

Over the years, his students have submitted handcrafted furniture and guitars to the competition. “This is a no-brainer to enter. This is the only competition that I know of that gives so much scholarship money,” he said.

Participating in the Art Scholar Competition and winning a prize has impacted the career paths of many of the past winners. One of McNeill’s former students, Spencer Johnson, won the Grand Prize in 2018 for his glass-topped table and now builds unique pieces of furniture by commission. 

“Winning the competition was validation that believing in yourself is a very powerful tool,” Johnson said. “Anyone is capable of achieving anything they put their mind to.” 

Draper Visual Arts Foundation co-founder, Jean Hendricksen, loved the table so much, she purchased it for her home. 

“It was a very big compliment to have someone in her position admire the work that I had done,” he said. 

After studying at the University of Utah, Johnson worked in sales and construction while building furniture as a side business. Recently, Johnson made a blanket chest for a client who was mourning the loss of an infant. “I found a curly maple wood for it and the grain pattern came out looking like a heart,” he said. Making one of a kind pieces that have special meaning to people is his passion. “I love capturing the beauty of wood and natural materials in a way that people can use in their everyday lives,” he said.

To see pictures of prize-winning works of art from past competitions and complete the online entry form, visit the Draper Visual Arts Foundation website at λ