7 students get honors for artwork


Seven of Washington County's most promising student artists were honored Sunday by the Valley Art Association during a reception at the Mansion House Art Center at Hagerstown's City Park.

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A three-member panel of judges from the Valley Art Association selected the winners from a student exhibit at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in May, said Clyde Roberts, association president.

The winners are: Boonsboro High School, Michele Mertz; Clear Spring, Grant Lagerhausen; Hancock, Jessica Emerson; North Hagerstown High, Shalisha Mason; Smithsburg, Nikki Barkefelt; South Hagerstown High, Emily Mertz; and Williamsport, Matt Hobby.

The students were presented with $50 checks and their works were put on display at the Mansion House, Roberts said.

The artwork represented a variety of subject matter from pumpkins to Star Wars characters, incorporating oils, watercolors, pencil and papier-mch techniques.


"The quality has improved," since the Art Association started its awards ceremony to promote art education six years ago, he said.

The students' work shows a willingness to experiment and "some are pretty mature for high school kids," he said of their abilities.

Three or four of the students honored are considering artistic careers and Roberts said he hopes the exposure will encourage others to take the same route.

"I think (art) needs promoting. I can't imagine anyone getting upset about schools dropping art the way they would over music," he said.

One of Roberts' favorite works is an oil painting done by Grant Lagerhausen. The 42-by-31 inch canvas shows three characters from "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" engaged in swordplay.

Roberts praised Lagerhausen for his use of proportion and perspective.

"It's blended beautifully," he said referring to the gradations of color in the floor tiles under the Star Wars characters' feet.

"It's extremely well done," he said.

Lagerhausen, 17, said he worked on the painting during his school art classes and selected the subject after seeing the movie.

The Clear Spring senior said he intends to keep on painting and will use his talent at Frostburg State University to study graphic arts.

Sixteen-year-old Emily Mertz won an award for a pencil drawing of a woman lounging on a banquet table, which she reproduced from a magazine advertisement, she said.

She said she was excited to find out she was to be honored by the Valley Art Association and hasn't made plans for the $50.

"I hope to frame it," said Mertz, who intends to become an art teacher after graduating.

Hearing that Mertz had been selected as one of Washington County's top student artists was no surprise to Don Viar, her art teacher.

Viar said Mertz is particularly skilled at detail work and "everything she does is that good."

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