Studio Arts Accolades

Studio Arts Accolades
by Danny Stock

Pop-Up Art Show 

Upper-Level Master Studio students began displaying their most recent pieces in a pop-up art show in the third-floor gallery in the High School just before Thanksgiving. Thirteen artists had pieces featured: Emery Jackson '23, Ava Blum '23, Mia Chévere '23, Edie Carey '23, Ally Brangham '23, Zaira Chowdhury '23, Nava Mach '23, Sophie Wohlstadter '23, Maya Raman '23, Anna Ford '24, Avery Ludlow '24, Gabi Swamy '23, and Robert Koukios '24. The gallery will remain up for a few weeks.

View the pieces >>

National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Award Winners

Two Augur Bit artists have won awards from the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA). Julius Boxer-Cooper ’22 won third place nationally in the Cartoon of the Year category for Chadwick the Cheerio Applies to College. Nava Mach ’23 received an honorable mention for Artist of the Year, placing her among the top ten of High School journalism artists.

“The NSPA awards are perhaps the most prestigious scholastic press awards in the country, so this is quite an accomplishment for Nava and Julius,” wrote Augur Bit advisor and High School English teacher Julia Fisher ’09 in announcing the award to GDS administrators. “It makes me especially proud to see the Bit's visual artists, who are too often unheralded in an operation whose writers often take the spotlight, getting such high praise on a national level.”

“I am so grateful to have my work recognized on a national scale especially since I have devoted so much time to the Augur Bit and art in general,” Nava said. “Art has always been a huge part of my life, and this award is somewhat of a culmination of my student art career.” 

Nava also expressed thanks for the support she received from the GDS art department over the course of her nine years at the School. “Art has always been a favorite subject of mine, and I am so appreciative of the artistic resources that GDS provides as well as the amazing support system of art teachers.”

Julius added, "Winning third place for the NSPA award was certainly a great honor, but drawing for the Augur Bit was an even greater honor. I can't thank the entire staff enough for allowing me the creative freedom to push myself and my work. The award will definitely motivate me to continue cartooning and expanding my own creative frontiers."

GDS extends congratulations also to those at the Augur Bit whose efforts support and showcase the talents of the artists: section editors Olivia Brown ’24, Reid Alexander ’22, and Avram Shapiro ’23; managing editors Andrew Mikhail ’23 and Anna Shesol ’24; editor-in-chief Ethan Wolin ’23; and Julia.

Selected Artist: 2022 AP Art and Design Digital Exhibit 

Congratulations to Zaira Chowdhury ’23 on her selection into the 2022 AP Art and Design Digital Exhibit. It is the first time a GDS art student has won this distinction.

The exhibit curators noted that Zaira’s portfolio featured “powerful images of watching a family member struggle with a major illness.”

Zaira expressed gratitude for the honor and acknowledged the difficulty she felt given the sensitive nature of the work, which was both “very personal” and “raw.” She chose to document the end of her grandmother’s life. Zaira explained:

Creating this portfolio, especially on such a personal and heavy topic, was not an easy task. It took more out of me than I could have ever imagined and made me empathize more than I ever have.

For my AP 2D Design Portfolio, I focused on capturing the mental and physical side effects of having to manage life with a terminal illness with photography. In an effort to represent these struggles accurately and honestly, I did not stray away from the unfavorable aspects of the circumstance. This story focuses on the subject’s greatest challenge—not her life as a whole—which is something to keep in mind as a viewer. 

Creating this portfolio was also a difficult personal journey because it is a representation of an outsider's view of someone else’s situation. It is a product of observation and synthesis. Being such a sensitive inquiry, I needed to be just, careful, and empathetic with my work. This work being included in this publication is a great honor, and I appreciate everyone who takes time to support my work.

High School studio art department chair Michelle Cobb, Zaira’s teacher, supported her both artistically and, at times, emotionally as Zaira followed the end-of-life arc.

“We had a lot of one-on-one discussions to process her feelings and observations,” Michelle said. “Although Zaira is a photographer, I discovered she was also a talented multimedia artist, and I encouraged her to go outside the confines of photography to explore her story. In the end, because it was so emotional, I wanted Zaira to pay tribute to her grandmother’s life while she was alive. She did this in a beautiful collage using artifacts, news clippings, and actual photos chronicling her life.”

Zaira thanked Michelle, saying, “None of this would have been conceivable without the constant motivation and support from my teacher, Michelle Cobb… She is diligent and detail-oriented with every one of her students, and she pushes them, so they create their best work. She fosters success and expects it from everyone.”


Studio Arts Accolades
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