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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Two MTHS students recognized for artwork by ICC

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  • METAMORA — Brett Fitzgerald, Metamora Township High School senior, said art is too subjective to be able to judge an individual work.“I don't really like contests,” he said. “In reality, everything is art.”He said, for instance, that some people can stick a shoe and bag of chips on a table and call it art. Even so, only two Metamora Township High School students received recognition for their work during the Illinois Central College Art Portfolio Day May 3. Fitzgerald was one of those two, receiving an honorable mention.The other was Haley Gray, Metamora Township High School junior. Both Gray and Fitzgerald have entered several other art contests in the course of their lives.Fitzgerald won the “Outstanding Senior Artist Award” April 25 as determined by his peers.Fitzgerald began entering contests in about sixth or seventh grade. He has never been big on contests.“I just don't like the whole prize system,” he said.At the same time, Fitzgerald said he had no expectations going into the contest. He said he did not want any letdowns.“I've learned not to expect anything,” he said. “If you expect something and you don't get it, you feel bad.”But Fitzgerald continues to enter contests to get noticed. He said he will enter into more in the future. He also said the art portfolio contest was particularly useful for that purpose because he is going to go to ICC after he graduates from high school.He said he also was not surprised that he received honorable mention rather than first place because the teachers there are not as enthused about the kind of art he does.“Most of the teachers there are more interested in traditional art,” he said.In addition to not being a traditional artist, he also said he is not inspired in the traditional way.“Everything inspires me,” he said. “It's all stuck in my mind somewhere and it's got to come out. “You get an emotion and it gets put in the art because the art reflects your thoughts.”However, Gray said her biggest inspiration started out as artist Preston Jackson. She said she took a course taught by Jackson that she enjoyed.“It was probably in my middle school years,” she said. “So I wouldn't have appreciated it as much as now.”Gray received first place in the contest and said that she has managed to develop a style of her own over time.“As my style has progressed over these past couple of years, I've found my own style of doing things,” she said.Gray entered into the Mid-Illini art show which ran from March 4-28. The artwork was displayed at the Prairie Center for the Arts, 1506 SW Washington St., Peoria. Gray said she won “Best of Show 3-D” for her 3-D piece. She entered the same thing for the art portfolio day. Gray said she did not know what to expect.“It was cool,” she said. “I didn't think I would get it.”Gray said she does not enter many contests but thought this one was worth trying. In addition, she noticed she had enough pieces to enter because of the amount of work she did in her art classes at school.“I don't normally do projects for myself,” she said.Even though she does not enter many contests, Gray said she is hopeful that her first place award will get her somewhere after high school graduation.“I want to go to college for fine arts, so I hope this will look good on college applications,” she said.Gray's first choice is Columbia College but due to the expensive tuition, she might start at ICC. Gray will enter more contests in the future.She said the next one she wants to enter is the Congressional Art Competition. Each congressional district can compete and competition takes place within the individual district.“I didn't get to this year,” she said of entering the Congressional Art Competition.Outside of art, Gray said she enjoys running and reading. She is on the high school's cross country team.“When it's an off-season, I just run with my friends to keep in shape.”Fitzgerald said he enjoys to read as well and enjoys spiritual books. He said he will go to ICC after he graduates to become an X-ray technician and will continue to do art on the side.Sponsored by the ICC arts program, ICC Art Portfolio Day was open to area high school students, including home-schooled students who are of high school age. Criteria used to evaluate the artwork consisted of creativity, technique and originality.

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