Looking artfully into the future

Winners of the 2021 Kurt Lattimer Aspiring Artist Award contest are: (from left) first place, Katie Preston of London High School, “UP, UP, and Away;” third place, Raven Large of London High School, “Unsolved Case #02027CR;” and second place, Madeline Frambes of Jonathan Alder High School, “Fhloston Paradise.”

(Posted Feb. 10, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

“I’m a big fan of this show because I think it is important to keep Kurt’s memory alive. Through his art, he had just such a beautiful mind–insightful and vulnerable–all the things I think this show represents.”

This is how Kristi Limes describes the Kurt Lattimer Aspiring Artist Award, an annual competition open to high school seniors in Madison County. Now in its fourth year, the contest honors the memory of the late Kurt Lattimer, an artist and former London resident.

Limes was one of three judges for this year’s competition. She is part of Project Jericho, an arts organization for youth and families that is affiliated with Clark State Community College. London Visual Arts Guild members Sharon Brackett and Alice Payne also served as judges.

Each year, the contest prompt is the same: create art that represents your dreams for your future.

“This year’s entries were a body of work that was very much from the artists’ imaginations, and I loved that. The artists did a really good job of being original, personal and vulnerable in the art they created,” Limes said.

Earning cash prizes for their entries were: first place, Katie Preston of London High School ($1,000); second place, Madeline Frambes of Jonathan Alder High School ($250); and third place, Raven Large of London High School ($100).

Preston’s oil painting, “UP, UP, and Away,” features a bluejay leaving the nest and flying into a scene filled with imagery that represents what the London senior wants to both keep close and pursue in her life: travel, soccer, art and more.

“My future isn’t just one specific thing. It’s full of things I’m passion about and things I really love,” said Preston, who has been painting and drawing for most of her life. Upon graduation, she plans to study graphic design at Miami University or Marietta College.

For her entry, Frambes submitted a piece entitled, “Fhloston Paradise.” Her inspiration was “Leeloo,” a character played by actress Milla Jovovich, in “The Fifth Element,” one of Frambes’s favorite movies.

In the futuristic film, all is going poorly for humanity. In the scene Frambes depicts in her acrylic painting, Leeloo is looking for a way to save the world from ultimate evil. Frambes likens the movie to present day, referencing the pandemic and civil rights.

“What I hope for the world, too, is that love and kindness and empathy will end up saving us,” said Frambes who plans to major in musical theater in college.

Using watercolor with pen, Large created a piece that speaks to her career aspirations. “Unsolved Case #02027CR” depicts human bones on a platform used by forensic anthropologists to look for clues as to how a victim died.

While Large plans to keep art as a key component of her life moving forward, her plans after graduation are to study anthropology at the University of Cincinnati with hopes of turning it into a career.

“All of the entries we received this year were very thoughtful. What the students wanted to say through their work was very impressive,” said Kim (Lattimer) Reeder, Kurt Lattimer’s mother.

Reeder coordinates the Aspiring Artist Award program with Tony Reeder, Mick Harris and Natalie Harris. She said she is thankful to everyone who made this year’s competition possible, including the county’s high school art teachers who promote the contest, the students who enter, the London Visual Arts Guild for their support, Vallery Farmhouse Bakery for hosting the reception, and Relevant Co. art gallery for displaying the entries.

All of the entries submitted for this year’s Aspiring Artist Award competition are on display through February at Relevant Co., 24 S. Main St., London. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. most Saturdays (call ahead, 740-837-6085).

Once conditions are safe to do so, competition organizers hope to hold fundraisers to support the prize program. In the meantime, and any time, donations are welcome. Checks should be made out to London Visual Arts Guild and mailed to Kim (Lattimer) Reeder, 80 E. Fifth St., London OH 43140.

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