Aspiring Berks County young artists exhibit their work at the 2021 Annual Senior High School Juried Art Exhibit at the Yocum Institute for Arts Education, 3000 Penn Ave., West Lawn, until Feb. 15.

“We appreciate the efforts of these talented young artists and their teachers to submit artwork during such a challenging time,” said exhibit judge Amanda Lee Condict, an illustrator and designer. “This year’s exhibit was impacted by the pandemic as shown by the fewer number of entries but the quality of those entries was impressive.”

Each year, the Institute invites full-time senior high school student artists from Berks County to submit their work for a juried exhibit to provide students with an opportunity to present their original works of art to the public in a professional gallery setting as well as compete for cash prizes and tuition to Institute classes. The original work features oil, watercolor, mixed media, acrylic paint, sculpture, and 3D art.

Tulpehocken junior Angelle Rescigno won The Coggins Award. Wyomissing junior Luis Delgado won The Berks Art Alliance Award. Exeter sophomore Brittany Thuong won The Gurman Award for “Onion Study.” Honorable Mentions went to Exeter sophomore Morgan Herb, Governor Mifflin senior Sophia Geddio and Governor Mifflin senior Nina Gottschall.

Exeter Sr. High senior Karleigh Patton won 1st Place with 2nd Place going to Governor Mifflin senior Devan Detwiler and 3rd Place awarded to Exeter junior Joanna Knepper.

The exhibit was judged by Amanda Lee Condict, who has worked in graphic arts and publishing, first as a fashion illustrator for a department store, then as an art director of a monthly magazine and finally as the owner of a graphic design and illustration studio. Called upon to draw dresses and dental appliances, batteries and babies, fairies and fuel filters, policemen and parrots, just about anything you can imagine, she has illustrated for books, magazines and catalogs, created T-shirt and textile designs and done commissioned portraits.

“I was thrilled to be asked to judge this year’s student exhibit because I find the enthusiasm that so many aspiring young artists bring to their work to be inspiring,” said Condict.

She looked for several things in considering which should receive awards.

“First and foremost, I wanted to see a creative idea that was thoughtfully developed. Secondly, I looked at the handling of the materials, the mastery of the technique used. Finally I considered the craftsmanship of the piece, including the neatness and appropriateness of the presentation,” said Condict. “All of the work was strong and it was difficult to pick the best.”

The Coggins Award was awarded to Tulpehocken junior Angelle Rescigno for her graphite and colored pencil portrait, “Possessed Child.”

“Her masterful mark-making with pencil is as good as any professional work I have ever seen and her selective use of color is very effective,” said Condict.

The Berks Art Alliance Award was presented to Wyomissing junior Luis Delgado III for his photograph, “Thane in City Lights.”

“His combination of two different photos, a nature scene and an urban one, was very professionally executed, I assume digitally,” she said. “The composition and design are flawless, and his subdued use of color adds to the mysterious aura.”

First Place was presented to Exeter Sr. High senior Karleigh Patton for her quilt, “A Portrait of Myself.”

“Her sewing skills are on par with experienced quilt-makers and her composition, figure proportions, and color choices are all excellent, as is her finishing and hanging,” said Condict.

Second Place was awarded to Governor Mifflin senior Devan Detwiler for her acrylic painting, “Lace Code.”

“Her distinctive brushwork and subtle use of color, especially in the black leather boots, made what could have been an overly preachy protest theme into a lively composition that got the point across without being heavy-handed.”

Third Place goes to Exeter junior Joanna Knepper for her ceramic piece, “Giraffe Box.”

“This well-crafted trinket box has an understated circus theme, using geometric shapes and a nicely coordinated color palette that are reminiscent of a more subdued version of a mid-century circus poster.”

Condict chose three Honorable Mentions, wanting to include a diverse range of media and techniques.

“Sophia Geddio’s ink drawing, ‘Harmony,’ exhibits a great sense of design and evokes the feel of those wonderful book illustrations from the early 1900s during the Golden Age of Illustration that made me think of Aubrey Beardsley or Alfonse Mucha,” she said. “Nina Gottschall’s acrylic painting, ‘Somewhat Same Lives,’ is a colorful ode to the psychedelic art of the 60s with a dash of Keith Haring. And finally, Morgan Herb’s watercolor, ‘Peaceful Glow,’ is a wonderful example of how beautifully and subtly that medium can express the many variations of white rose petals in all their velvety splendor.”

An adjunct instructor in the fashion department at Albright College, Condict teaches drawing and painting at Yocum Institute. She operates painting party studio Vincent Van BYO and paints murals, mostly as community projects with area schools. She was a forensic sketch artist on an episode of “The Dead Files,” and serves on several area arts boards including Berks Art Alliance, Clay on Main, on Berks Arts Council’s Roundtable, and as an administrator of the Sketching Workshop, an international organization of artists.

Recently her watercolor paper dolls were on exhibit at Yocum Gallery in Wyomissing and her graphite portraits were in the faculty show at Albright College in Reading. She also curated and had artwork in “Reflections: Women Viewing Women,” at Clay on Main, a non-profit art center in Oley, “The Female Gaze” at the AFA Gallery in Scranton and Alvernia University in Reading.

Free to attend, families are welcome to come see the show during open hours, following safety precautions in place due to COVID-19. All guests are required to wear a mask. No more than 10 visitors are allowed in the gallery at a time to allow families to comfortably practice social distancing while viewing the artwork.

Gallery hours at The Yocum Institute for Arts Education Gallery, 3000 Penn Ave., West Lawn, are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and closed Sunday.

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