August 8, 2020

Lyme-Old Lyme HS Students Achieve Multiple Honors at 2020 Scholastic Art Awards

Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) senior Sarah Conley won three major honors at this year’s Scholastic Art Awards. The painting above, ‘Itchy,’ was included in her portfolio.  All of the images in this article show award-winning artwork by other LOLHS students at the same event. All images submitted.

HARTFORD /LYME-OLD LYME — In keeping with a long tradition of success at the Connecticut Scholastic Art Awards, 10 Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) students are being recognized at the event this year. The Awards Celebration is scheduled for this afternoon, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. in the Hartford Art School’s Lincoln Theater. Visit this link for a full listing of all award winners.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School senior Sarah Conley not only received Gold Keys in both Painting and Printmaking, but also the Connecticut Art Administrators Association prestigious award for Best in Printmaking.

‘Voyeur’ by junior Connie Pan.

Juniors Connie Pan, Aidan Powers and Marina Melluzo received Gold Keys in Painting, Digital Art and Drawing respectively, while another junior, Jack Conley, received a Silver Key in Drawing.

Honorable Mentions included seniors Summer Siefken and Sam Dushin for Drawing, junior Olivia Bartlett in Mixed Media, junior Sonia Bair in Drawing, and sophomore Olivia Shaedler in both Drawing and Ceramics.

This triptych titled, ‘Pilot’ is by junior Aidan Powers.

All Scholastic Art Award accepted works are on display at the Hartford Art School’s Silpe Gallery through Jan. 31. Gold Key works will also go on to be juried at the national level.

Year after year, students from Lyme-Old Lyme High School bring home major awards from this contest so, one must ask, why is the art program at LOLHS so successful?

‘Self-portrait’ by junior Jack Conley.

Adam Raiti, who teaches digital and three-dimensional art at LOLHS, suggests there are a number of reasons. First and foremost, he believes that the fact, “Lyme-Old Lyme Schools hire teachers who are artists” represents a major difference over many other high school art programs. Apart from being a teacher, Raiti, who is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), is an extremely successful freelance illustrator and designer.

Similarly, LOLHS Art Department Head William Allik, a Wesleyan University graduate, is a highly respected artist, whose work has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the country. Raiti explains, “We can both bring our real world experiences to the table,” noting that sometimes he sets tasks for his students drawn from work commissioned by his business clients.

‘Turning Out The Light’ by junior Sonia Bair.

Both teachers are classically-trained artists, but Allik, in keeping with the trends of those times, focused on abstract painting during his undergraduate years. After graduation, he continued his art career on the West coast of the US and, in his words, soon “figured out I didn’t want to be an abstract painter.” He returned to the East and was admitted to the élite New York Academy, where his studies included anatomy and cast-drawing.

Allik thus learned what were then perceived as the old-fashioned and outdated skills of the Renaissance Great Masters, which he describes as having been “flushed out in the 70s” with the meteoric rise of modern art. He developed a passion for realism and representational art, which were not then in vogue, but ultimately have stood the test of time, and enabled him to teach his students – in the simplest of terms –“to draw well.”

‘Containment’ by junior Maria Melluzo.

Allik points out that all the top art schools in the country are now looking again for the “traditional skills” and the fact that every year LOLHS graduates are being admitted to schools like RISD, Pratt Institute, Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD), Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and Parsons is testament to his focus on teaching students, in his words, “to learn to speak the language of drawing.”

Allik still insists his students take mechanical drawing working by hand with a T-square and triangle on a drafting board, rather than, as would happen in most high schools, using a computer. He emphasizes that, “being able to draw well is a very versatile talent,” citing the professions of architecture, interior and industrial design, and engineering as examples in which, “drawing is the language millions use in their daily lives.”

‘Reflecting the Light’ by junior Olivia Bartlett.

Apart from the tremendous length, depth and breadth of experience of the faculty, Raiti notes another reason the Art Department thrives at Lyme-Old Lyme is the “phenomenal support from the administration and the community.” He comments that the department is “treated with respect” in a community with a history rooted in the arts, asking rhetorically, “Where else can you be [at high school] within walking distance of a remarkable art college [Lyme Academy], the oldest art association in the country [Lyme Art Association] and a nationally-acclaimed art gallery {Florence Griswold Museum]?

‘Portait #3’ by senior Summer Siefken.

Rick Lacey, who graduated from LOLHS in 2007, went on to receive a BFA from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and is now an instructor at the college, has nothing but praise for both Allik (Lacey graduated before Raiti joined the high school) and the program at his high school. Now an acclaimed artist himself, Lacey says, “The program at the high school is truly unique in the state and perhaps even the country. Will [Allik] shows that the teaching of classical drawing methods is still extremely important … he finds ways for students to begin to understand the concepts of perspective, proportion, and composition … he really has had many years of great success at all levels.”

‘Coil Pot’ by sophomore Olivia Schaedler.

Lacey recalls that when Allik joined the high school, “There were only six of us in the whole program,” but now Allik has “Full classes all day long,” noting enthusiastically, “He is really on to something and the students pick up on that.” Lacey describes Allik as, “… an incredible teacher that can work with any student,” adding on a personal note, while simultaneously giving a resounding endorsement of the art program at LOLHS, “I’m so proud I went there.”

‘Driveway’ by senior Sam Dushin.

Editor’s Note: Parts of this article were previously published in the summer 2019 edition of ‘The Day Education Guide.’

Share

Speak Your Mind

*