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Celebrating Women Artists at Jefferson High School

Celebrating women in March during Women’s History Month is exactly what is happening in the Jefferson High School Art Department. On Sunday, March 13, two J-Hawk artists were named Best in Show at two major art exhibitions in the state. 

Jefferson senior Leleany Rodriguez received the Best in Show Award in the drawing category for her colored pencil drawing, “Alone” at ArtConnectED Northern Exhibition. The event is formerly known as the Illinois High School Art Exhibition. The Northern Exhibition is one of Illinois’ largest and most influential high school student art exhibitions. This show celebrates artistic achievement and provides talented young artists with opportunities to showcase their artwork and compete at a state level.  

Student work from over 110 Illinois schools was judged by category with prizes awarded for the top entries in eight categories: drawing, painting, photography, design, mixed media, ceramics, sculpture, and time arts. The state exhibition opened on March 13 at Chicago’s Bridgeport Art Center with a reception and awards ceremony. I was lucky enough to celebrate her award with her family and classmates. The high school show is on exhibit through April 28. 

Jefferson senior Arely Paniagua won the overall Best in Show Award for her charcoal drawing, “Fear of the Dark” at the Rockford Art Museum’s 81st annual Young Artist Show. The show opened to the public this month and announced their awards through a social media post. The show is a Rockford Art Museum tradition that features students from 15 area public, private, parochial and home-school settings. This year’s show is open through April 10 and is free to the public.

These juried art exhibitions recognize and celebrate the creative efforts and accomplishments of young artists.  

In addition to the Best in Show awards, Jefferson senior artists who participated in the Art ConnectED Senior Art Exhibition were recognized with $2,350,000 in scholarship offers. Art ConnectED believes the visual arts are a powerful force in culture and education, enriching the lives and endeavors of humankind. Their mission is to advance art education for young people by providing art exhibition and education opportunities that celebrate students' artistic achievement, promote mastery and ingenuity in learning, and facilitate post-secondary opportunities. Congratulations, Jefferson artists!

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Lynn Stockton

Lynn Stockton is an Art Teacher at Jefferson High School. She teaches AP Studio Art as well as 2-D Studio Art 1 and 2. Stockton is also the teacher lead of the JHS Business Academy and guides the work of all five College and Career Pathways within the Academy. Stockton is in her 40th year of teaching high school art and is the Director of NIU's Summer in the Arts Camp for high school students.

  • Beyond the Classroom
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