Three ASMSA students selected for Governor’s Young Artist Competition exhibit

HOT SPRINGS — Three Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts students were selected to participate in the 2021 Governor’s Young Artist Competition exhibit at the Governor’s Mansion.

Seniors Catherine Kwon of Little Rock and Nina Thomas of Hot Springs and junior Danielle Luyet of Conway were chosen to participate in this year’s exhibit of artwork by ninth- through twelth-grade students from across the state. The exhibit will begin April 1, and an awards and recognition reception will be held at the Governor’s Mansion on April 24.

This year’s theme was “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Students combined their artistic talent with a patriotic vision to create art that celebrates and honors America. The participants submitted their pieces digitally for consideration by the Governor’s Mansion and Friends of the Mansion organization.

“Stars and Stripes” by Nina Thomas

Luyet said she wanted to create something special that reflects the spirit of American people so she chose to paint portraits of influential Americans. Entitled “The Faces of America,” her piece includes Louis Armstrong, Sally Ride and Abraham Lincoln among others.

“My piece is composed of many bold and defined brush strokes of red, white and blue, and the style I used is characterized by little to no blending,” Luyet said. “I feel my style of portraiture reflects the bold spirit of American reformers and trailblazers.

 “I feel honored to participate in the Governor’s Young Artist Exhibit. This recognition for my work means a lot to me and makes me feel more confident in my artistic abilities. I’m excited to share my work with Arkansas and other young artists!”

Kwon said she wanted to create a piece that reflects the diversity of America and highlights the resultant harmony. It is appropriately titled “Harmony in Diversity.”

“While the painting itself depicts a bright and joyful scene, it is simultaneously a comment on how America needs to better accept and appreciate differences among its people,” Kwon said. “I felt that the overall theme of my piece was well represented with the specific illustration style I used and wanted to try this new style to communicate with an audience.

“Harmony in Diversity” by Catherine Kwon

“Having my work exhibited at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion is an honor in itself, and it also tells me that I am able to successfully transfer messages and emotions through my art.”

 It was the second year in a row as an ASMSA student and third overall that Kwon has had a piece selected in the competition for display at the mansion.

Thomas created a piece called “Stars and Stripes” from magazine clippings and embroidery floss on canvas. The clippings and floss combine to create an American flag.

“I decided I wanted to take the prompt quite literally because of the style I wanted to try out,” said Thomas, who also had a piece selected for the 2019 Governor’s Young Artist Competition when she was a junior at ASMSA. She spent a year abroad studying in Germany before returning to ASMSA for her senior year of high school. “I knew the flag would be easier to recognize — in terms of both the image and its connotation/message — than another image that could still fit the prompt.

“Having my art chosen for the Governor’s Young Artist Competition for the second time is really awesome as it is a great reminder that art can serve as more than just a hobby for me.”