Little Miami High School Blog

Benbow earns Scholastic Gold Key for art

Posted on: January 31, 2017

A Little Miami student’s digital artwork will be moving on to national competition after winning a top regional award.

Junior Alison Benbow recently learned that several pieces she had submitted to the annual Scholastic Art and Writing awards had earned honors, including one piece that earned a prestigious Gold Key. Gold Key-winning pieces move on to the final round of judging in New York City, with the chance to be recognized during a ceremony at Carnegie Hall.

Besides the Gold Key, Benbow earned two Silver Keys and an honorable mention. Her work will be on display at the Art Academy of Cincinnati through Feb. 3.

Benbow’s Gold Key winner is a “low-poly” portrait. She used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to convert a digital photo of a friend into a collection of triangles and colored each triangle by hand. Benbow said she credits her Digital Media Arts class (which is a satellite program of the Warren County Career Center) and teacher Brian Shoff for helping her create the piece.

“Mr. Shoff provides the material and the time and then he encourages us to figure things out for ourselves,” she said. “You become better [as an artist] because you have figured it out on your own.”

Benbow plans to pursue a career in some sort of graphic design and illustration for business. She hopes to attend either College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning at the University of Cincinnati, or the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Through the Scholastic Awards, teens in grades 7–12 from public, private, or home schools can apply in 29 categories of art and writing for their chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited and published. In 2016, nearly 320,000 works of art and writing were submitted.

At the regional level approximately 5-7% of the works submitted receive Regional Gold Keys, 7-10 % receive Silver Keys, and 10-15% receive Honorable Mentions. Gold Key works are automatically included in national-level judging. Approximately 5-7% of these works receive national recognition. In 2016, 2,500 National Medals were awarded.

In New York City, panels of nationally renowned artists, art professionals, and arts educators review Gold Key works from across the country. The artwork is judged in the digital format. Jurors select work for national recognition based on three criteria, 1) Originality, 2) Technical Skill, and 3) Emergence of a Personal Vision.