Picture of the 2016 Art Show Winners

Students Shine in District K-12 Art Show

More than 850 people attended the 2016 Okaloosa County K-12 Art Show which was held in late April at the Bull Rigdon Fairgrounds.

The show featured over 2,500 pieces of art with 1,300 in the elementary division and 1,200 in the secondary division.  The Ruckel Middle School Jazz Band under the direction of Eddie Steadman, provided the entertainment during the Awards ceremony.  Sheila Lightbourne, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the school district, was the host for the evening.

The Superlative Awards were established by the secondary art teachers 5 years ago because of the difficulty in selecting the Best of Show winners.  Students received a certificate and a monetary award from the show’s sponsors.

Winner of the 2D Superlative Award was Madison Rausch from Niceville High School - Title: Stained Glass Dragon 

Madison, a senior, has taken five art classes which include AP 2D Art and won numerous awards including the Van Porter ADSO award.  She is planning to major in sequential art at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design).  “Her storytelling is only overshadowed by her attention to detail in her are pieces,” said her art teacher, Kim Nihill-Taylor.  “The precision has one at first look and just continues to pull you in.  She will be missed but I know that great things are in store for her!”

Picture of 2D Superlative Award winner Madison Rausch from Niceville High School.

Picture of 2D Superlative Award winner Madison Rausch from NHS artwork titled Stained Glass Dragon

Winner of the 3D Superlative Award was Savannah Clay from Crestview High School - Title: Teapot 

Savannah, a senior, has taken five art classes in both 2D and 3D. Within the last two years, she has won six ribbons for her work.  “She plans to continue her art career by majoring in studio arts at SCAD,” said her art teacher, Alex Pottinger.

The Best of Show art pieces are selected by the art teachers with the middle school art teachers selecting the high school winners and the high school art teachers selecting the middle school winners.  Students received an acrylic award and a monetary award from the show’s sponsors.

Picture of 3D Superlative Award winner Savannah Clay from Crestview High SchoolPicture of Savannah Clay's Teapot

Winner of the 2D Best of Show in Middle School was Melissa Harrison from Liza Jackson Preparatory School - Title: Van Gogh Sunflowers

“This was my first year of being able to take art in middle school,” said Melissa.  “I have always had an interest in art from my older sisters who are very creative.  I was inspired to create the Van Porter sunflowers after I drew a rough draft and my art teacher, Ms. Abby Brown encouraged me to use it for my final project.  I really liked this project because I got to experiment with a lot of different types of art styles and mediums, and learn about many artists.”

Picture of Melissa Harrison's Van Gogh Sunflowers

Picture of 2D Best of Show in Middle School winner Melissa Harrison from Liza Jackson Preparatory School

Winner of the 3D Best of Show in Middle School was Elizabeth Marlin from Ruckel Middle School - Title: Saxophone

Elizabeth has been making art since she was a little girl and was inspired by her uncle’s creative work.  Only recently has she begun it take it more seriously.  She finds art to be a source of relaxation and stress relief as well as a form of personal expression.  She especially enjoys painting acrylic and admires the work of Van Gogh, Picasso, and Da Vinci.  Her inspiration for this sculpture came from her love for music and the fact that she plays the saxophone in band.  “Music is a big part of her life, so it’s only natural that it is frequently a subject in her art,” said her art teacher, Carmen Patterson.  “Elizabeth is a wonderful student who gives her best effort to projects in all kinds of media.  Her skill and talent have provided an inspiration for her class mates and her kindness has encouraged them to do more.  She does not hesitate to offer help when needed.  Elizabeth is talented, intelligent, and kind – truly a pleasure to work with and a young artist whose work will only be more impressive with experience.”

Picture of 3D Best of Show in Middle School winner Elizabeth Marlin from Ruckel Middle SchoolPicture of Elizabeth Marlin's Saxophone

Winner of the 2D Best of Show in High School was Taylor Conley from Niceville High School - Title: Glimpse into Sisterhood

Taylor, a senior, has taken AP Art History and AP Drawing.  “Her growth this year is truly exceptional; not only in technique but also confidence,” said her art teacher, Kim Nihill-Taylor.  “She creates from the heart and her subject matter is her family.  One can see and feel the close bond she has with them.  She placed first at the Mattie Kelly Destin Festival of the Arts and received an honorable mention at the Van Port Art Show.  She will truly be missed next year, but I cannot wait to see how her gift continues to blossom at college.”

Picture of 2D Best of Show in High School winner Taylor Conley from Niceville High School Picture of Taylor Conley's Glimpse into Sisterhood

Winner of the 3D Best of Show in High School was Angie Ordonez from Fort Walton Beach High School - Title: Frog Charmer

Angie, a sophomore, uses art as a stress reliever to school work.  “She is an amazing student,” said her art teacher, Kim Moran.  “It is wonderful to watch her create the pieces she makes.  It is like she works magic with her hands in constructing her clay pieces.”

“I decided to take the ceramics class my first year in high school because my sister had told me that it was such an interesting class,” said Angie.  “I could tell that was true from the things she brought home.  It made me realize that I wanted to create things as well.  Now I am taking my second year and could not be happier.  Art to me is an escape from the stress of school and everything else.  When I am sitting in my seat creating art with my hands, I feel at peace.  But the best feeling of it all is the moment when you see your finished piece, a part from winning an award, of course.”

Picture of 3D Best of Show in High School winner Angie Ordonez from Fort Walton Beach High SchoolPicture of Angie Ordonez's Frog Charmer

Special thanks go to the following: the Art Show Judges, the Ruckel Middle School Band, the Okaloosa County Art Teachers for all they give to their students, in the classroom and in preparation for this special event; the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation; Bull Rigdon and the staff at the C.H. “Bull” Rigdon Fairgrounds; Steve Bolton and the OCSD Maintenance Department; and the following volunteers: Maureen Bennett, Maria Ramos, Melinda Bowers, and Phyllis March.

We also wish to thank the following businesses who have provided monetary awards for our “Best of Show” and “Superlative” winners:

J. Ely Business Services
MKAF All Kinds of Art
M.G. Morgan, Contractor
Ironclad CrossFit

Congratulations to all of the District’s talented artists!

To see a gallery of photos from the District Art Show, visit the OCSD Facebook page.