Westlake High School artist wins The Foundry Fine Art Show

WHS junior Kenan Alsabony's piece, "Fountain of Joy," won first place.

The Foundry Community Rowing and Sailing Center hosted its first-ever Juried Student Art Show, called The Power of Water, welcoming entries from 91 middle and high school students from nine participating Northeast Ohio schools. The entries were evaluated by distinguished jurors Hillary Gent, Kevin "Mr. Soul" Harp, and Sabine Kretzschmar, who selected 41 pieces for display in the student exhibition.

The exhibition and opening night were held at The Foundry Community Rowing and Sailing Center in Cleveland on April 27 with over 100 individuals in attendance. The students received cash prizes for Best of Show and in the middle and high school categories of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, as well as certificates for honorable mention and the People's Choice award. Campus International, a Cleveland Metropolitan School, won $1,000 in art supplies for the school with the highest number of student participants.

Kenan Alsabony, a junior at Westlake High School, was an artist selected for the exhibition and the first-place winner in the high school division. His piece, titled "Fountain of Joy," was inspired by the water scarcity in many parts of the world, particularly in Syria where he has many family members. Alsabony stated, "I am honored to have been selected in the 'Power of Water' art contest. It allowed me to bring light to global issues important to me while also helping me grow as an artist." In addition to his first-place certificate, Kenan won a $100 prize. 

Two other artists from Westlake High School were selected for the show. Aubrie Bartnicki, a sophomore, submitted a piece called "Water is a Pathway" and Helen Willmer, a junior, created a piece titled "Drown" that was included in the exhibition.

Mr. Will Wilson, art teacher at Westlake High School, shared his belief in the importance of opportunities like this for students.

"Prompts like 'The Power of Water' allow students to consider concepts and ideas they may not tackle otherwise," Wilson said. "I am also a big advocate for students showing their work. Art is meant to be seen and shared. Without audiences and venues, it fails somewhat to live up to its potential to communicate and connect."

Christy Gray, art consultant and owner of Gray Haus Studios in Bay Village, served a key role on the committee.

“It was exciting to see the response from the schools and students that entered the Power of Water juried art show," Gray said, "and a delight to work with the jurors through the selection process where the artists’ skills and content of their work were both considered. There is a breadth of talent in the students that combined with the writing about their work that shines a light on the next generation of artists from this area.”

The Foundry is proud to have hosted this annual event, which aims to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of Greater Cleveland’s 6th-12th graders. The Foundry believes that the arts are a critical component of positive youth development, and this exhibition showcases the incredible talent and creativity of the area youth. The Foundry is already looking forward to next year's event and the opportunity to showcase even more of the city's talented young artists. If you have an idea for the student show prompt next year, contact the Foundry with your idea at info@clevelndfoundry.org. This year’s exhibition will remain on display at the 1831 Columbus Road location in Cleveland until May 18. All are welcome to see the exhibition.

Blazine Monaco and Michael Ferry

Director of Business Affairs at the Foundry Community Rowing and Sailing Center and Supporter of Community Journalism

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 9:24 AM, 05.02.2023