Art conveying the theme “Love & Change in the Time of Corona” adorns the Virgin Islands lottery tickets that went on sale Friday. The colorful images were submitted and selected as winners in the online student art contest and exhibit.
Students across the U.S. Virgin Islands, ranging from kindergarten through high school seniors were challenged to take their art to the level of conservationists, thinkers and activists.
The students met the creative call to action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The challenge gave students the opportunity to inspire hope and action through the arts, organizer Maria “irieah” Stiles said.
“It is an artistic platform where young people can explore relationships in a changing world and become advocates for social action,” Stiles said.
Students submitted drawings, collages, sculptures, masks, dances, songs, paintings and photography, which were judged on visual impact, creativity and interpretations, composition/design and craftsmanship, she said. Winners were selected from the territorywide elementary category and junior high/high school category for both the St. Croix and St. Thomas/St. John districts.
The “Love & Change in the Time of Corona” art contest evolved from the 1st Youth Art Month V.I. Student Art Online Exhibit that showcased on Facebook in March, in observance of Youth Art Month.
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented students from showcasing their artwork as usual on St. Croix and St. Thomas for the annual Youth Art Month exhibition. The organizers took the exhibit online as the Youth Art Month VI Student Online Gallery 2020 Facebook page.
Stiles was the curator for the online gallery of students’ work for the second annual exhibit, which was originally scheduled for March 20 at the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts on St. Thomas and for the 12th annual Youth Art Month Exhibit, which had been set for March 27 at Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism in Frederiksted.
Both events were canceled due to the pandemic, and Stiles posted images of the artwork in the online gallery. She observed that many of the paintings she received had themes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it inspired her to create the first Student Art Online Contest, Stiles said.
According to Stiles, the contest raised awareness of the impact of the local and global crisis and inspired students to explore possible solutions. It gave them hope and action through the arts, she said.
The art contest required each student to write a description of the work submitted.
The top three winners in each of the three categories received prizes, which included their artwork showcased for the Nov. 12 V.I. lottery.
First, second and third place winners received a variety of prizes, including gift cards for art supplies, an art mentorship session, a membership to the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts and a gift bag of art supplies.
First Place Winners:
Khm -Shawa Samuel, 12, a sixth-grader at Lew Muckle Elementary School, won first place in the territory-wide elementary school category for her piece, “Fight Covid,”
Angelina Springer, 15, a sophomore at St. Croix Central High School, won first place in the junior high/high school category for the St. Croix District for her piece, “Effects of a Virus.”
Deja-Marie Simon, 17, a junior at Peter Gruber International Academy, won first place in the junior high/high school category for the St. Thomas-St. John District for her piece, “We Survive This.”
Lilly Selbert, a sixth-grader from St. Thomas, won second-place in the territory-wide elementary school category for her piece, “Spongy-Covid.”
Coral Mercer, 15, a sophomore home school student, won second place in the junior high/high school category for the St. Croix District for her piece, “Extrospection.”
Bilal Muhammad, 15, a home school student won second place in the junior high/high school category for the St. Thomas-St. John District for his painting and special video presentation, “19 Restriction.”
Ellis Wisehart,12, a sixth-grader at All Saints Catholic School, won third place in the territory- wide elementary school category for her piece, “Love is in the Air.”
Aurys Herrera, 16, a junior at St. Croix Educational Complex, won third place in the junior high/high school category for the St. Croix District for her piece, “At the Cross.”
Isabella Mecurio won third place in the junior high/high school category for the St. Thomas- St. John District for her piece, “The World.”
The submitted artwork for the first Student Art Online Contest can be viewed on the V.I. Student Gallery Online Facebook page.
Lucien Downes, Chinwee Osaze, Hadiyah Lang and Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight were the judges for the online art contest.
The sponsors were: Virgin Islands Lottery, Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center, The Art Exchange, Conch Shell Media, Sankofa Saturdays, The Art Explorium, Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, The Frame Up, Cape Air, Bajo el Sol Art Bar, My Girlfriend’s Closet, Kamania Dinkins, Rebel Jen and Suenita Banwaree.