Shekinah and London students win art contest awards

Winners in this year’s Kurt Lattimer Aspiring Artist Award contest are: (from left) Riley Helmuth, best of show; Dean Harris, drawing/painting first place; Layla Brohard, 3-D art first place; Makenna Wiggins, digital art first place; Luke Marriott and Kassie Patterson, honorable mentions.

(Posted Jan. 29, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

How would you answer this question: “What do you dream of for your future?”

Artistically inclined students from across Madison County submitted their answers in the form of drawings, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, and digital art for the annual Kurt Lattimer Aspiring Artist Award (KLAAA) competition.

“This year’s competitors had such amazing depth to their vision for the future and clearly illustrated their thoughts–something we had hoped for when our guidelines were written six years ago,” said Kim Lattimer-Reeder, one of the contest organizers.

The contest honors the memory of Lattimer-Reeder’s son, Kurt Lattimer, an artist and 2008 London High School graduate who passed away in 2017. The contest is open to Madison County high school seniors.

Winners of the 2024 competition were announced on Jan. 21 during the Madison County Young Artist Showcase held at First United Methodist Church in London. The best of show winner received $1,000. Category winners each received $500.

The winners are:

Best of ShowRiley Helmuth, Shekinah Christian School, for his drawing, “Dream”

Helmuth used spraypaint and alcohol markers to create an outline of the word “dream” on a dark background. A variety of characters and images fill the outline.

“It’s basically a lot of things I like doing or things I want to have in the future,” he said of the drawing’s content. “The character on the side represents me doing art in the future.”

Among the images are a cabin in the mountains and references to basketball. Helmuth said he hopes to become a graffiti artist or create animation for video games and movies.

Painting/DrawingDean Harris, Shekinah Christian School, for his painting, “Looking Toward, Not Forward”

Harris used acrylic paint to create a portrait in which half the face is his and half is that of a Belgian Malinois dog.

He said he wants to work in a career field involving K-9s and wants to live his life with confidence and strength, two qualities of this particular breed of dog.

Regarding the painting’s title, Harris explained, “I’m looking toward something and making goals to get there instead of looking forward to something I just expect to happen.”

3-DimensionalLayla Brohard, London High School, for her ceramics piece, “My Spark”

Brohard created a sculpture of herself fixing a robotic dragon. She said the piece represents her dream of becoming an engineer and her love of dragons and fantasy.

“In the art room, I’m known as ‘The Dragon Lady’ because I have been sculpting dragons for the last four years,” she said.

Brohard said she hopes to keep art in her life as a hobby.

Digital ArtMakenna Wiggins, London High School, for her piece, “Stay-At-Home Psychologist”

Wiggins used ibisPaint, a computer drawing and painting app, to create a scene depicting her dream home, toys in the yard, and her standing in the window of a home office. She said she dreams of becoming a mother and a psychologist who works with soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

In addition to the digital piece, Wiggins submitted a two-dimensional drawing that shows a close-up version of the office window with her about to shake hands with a soldier.

“The digital version was my optional entry. It took way longer but definitely was worth it,” she said.

Honorable Mention–The contest judges also named two honorable mention honorees: Luke Marriott (ceramics) and Kassie Patterson (drawing), both from London High School.

Each year, Stacey Hallowes-Billiter, art teacher at London High School, spreads the word about the KLAAA contest to seniors in her art classes. Those in Art IV are required to enter the contest.

“I turn it into an assignment that is due in December, so they have plenty of time to think about it and be ready for the January deadline,” she said. “The biggest challenge for them is getting their thoughts or ideas into 2-D or 3-D form. I feel like, every year, they nail it.”

Twelve London students submitted a total of 13 entries to the contest this year.

Hallowes-Billiter said she promotes the contest because she wants her students to have a chance to win and because she had the contest’s namesake, Kurt Lattimer, in class.

“It’s my way of making sure Kurt’s memory is honored,” she said.

This was the first year students from Shekinah Christian School entered the contest. Seven students, all of whom have taken art for four years, participated. Art teacher Delores Groh said she is thrilled with the results.

“This has been so exciting for us. This seriously has been one of the highlights of my career,” she said.

Groh made the contest part of this year’s curriculum. Mick Harris, one of the contest organizers, visited the students to explain the contest and its origins. Groh said the visit served as inspiration. Students worked on their projects in class, out of class, and over winter break.

About the winning students from Shekinah, Groh said, “I’m just so proud of them. I’m so thankful their hard work paid off, and they could see affirmation of their gifts.”

The work of all of this year’s entrants is on display through the end of February at London City Hall, 20 S. Walnut St.

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