UAA students jury statewide high school art competition

For the first time in its two-decade history, the All-State Art Competition, an annual Alaska art contest for high school students, was organized and judged by UAA students. The Alaska Schools Activities Association normally hosts the competition and show.

The 2006 All-State Art Competition opened March 3 on the third floor of the Consortium Library. This is the first year the competition was not juried by professional artists.

“I think it’s a good experience for college students to help run this thing, help hang stuff, judge it,” said association executive director Gary Matthews. “I don’t think any high school kid would feel they had not had an adequate judgment done because it’s a college student. They would be thrilled it’s a college student doing it, because it’s going to be them in a couple years.”

UAA professor Herminia Din instructs History and Philosophy of Art Education, the upper-division class charged with hosting the competition.

“We worked so hard,” Din said. “We had the whole day Wednesday, we spent two weeks prior to discuss the logistics of what happens. It’s not like you can do it along the way.”

After two weeks of planning, six UAA art students opened the art show with 153 entries in 11 different media.

The students’ work on the competition was an element Din incorporated into her class’ curriculum, but when the Center for Community Engagement and Learning offered a grant for community engagement, Din encouraged her students to apply. Art major Jeralyn Miyashiro was awarded the grant, so she took a larger role in the planning and execution of the art show.

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“I’ve worked on getting the database, and as a class we worked together and tried to organize what would be the best way, logistically, to get things from there to here,” Miyashiro said. “We had some logistics problems to actually try to figure out the show.

An unforeseen challenge erupted when a snowstorm hit Feb. 25, the day the students and other workers for the show were scheduled to move pedestals intended to display the three-dimensional pieces.

“Everything got wet and snowy,” Miyashiro said. “Of all days, that’s the day we had to move.” The volunteer crews, consisting of husbands and two elementary school-aged sons, transported the pedestals from the Kimura Art Gallery in the Fine Arts Building to the third floor of the library.

The class also confronted the challenge of getting the 153 entries to the library on Providence Drive from the nearby ASAA offices on Laurel Street.

“There was only three people and one van,” Miyashiro said. “Nobody ever thinks about that when you get to a show, that somebody has to move these things.”

Eventually, Wheeler from ASAA and two Anchorage high school art teachers, Leslie Matz from A.J. Dimond and Rebecca Voris from West, transported the pieces in one trip. Next, the team had to unpack and label the entries, then display them for the judging.

“The inventory comes from all over the state,” Voris said. “You’ve got to get the right piece in the right box and the right tag to the right teacher.”

Art major Tina Fisher juried the painting category, which is her unofficial emphasis.

“As an artist myself, it gave me a perspective as to the other side. Like when I enter a piece, how a lot of it’s subjective,” Fisher said. “It’s cool, everybody comes with something different.”

During a 10-hour day March 1, two days before the competition’s First Friday reception, two high school art teachers, one professor and the six UAA art students arranged all 153 paintings, sculptures, jewelry pieces, photographs and drawings.

On March 15, the entries must be correctly repackaged and sent back to the students who submitted them.

During the First Friday reception March 3, Miyashiro said she thought the show was going well. Attendees studied the work as they enjoyed food by the Seawolf Dining Services and live background music from West high music students.