Albany Museum of Art names essay winners

Winners of the Albany Museum of Art’s fourth annual “A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words” competition were announced recently. They are, from left, Mason Flynn, Deerfield-Windsor School , 1st place, middle school; Bailey Collier, DWS, honorable mention, middle school; Haley Jackson, Georgia Southwestern State University, honorable mention, college; Cailin Cutts, Monroe High School, 3rd, place, high school; Alana Dapper, home school, 2nd place, high school; Ashlinn Dapper, Sherwood Christian Academy, 1st place, high school; Kelsie Ray, GSW, 1st place, college; Cassidy Warren, GSW, 3rd place, college, and Gregory Fletcher, Albany State University, honorable mention, college. (Photo: Jim Hendricks/Albany Museum of Art)

ALBANY ─ Winners have been announced in the Albany Museum of Art’s fourth annual “A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words” essay contest.

Kelsie Rey, a student at Georgia Southwestern State University, won first place in the college division. Ashlinn Dapper, a student at Sherwood Christian Academy, won first place among high school entries, and Mason Flynn, a student at Deerfield-Windsor School, was the top finisher in the new middle school division.

The top three essayists and honorable mention winners in the college, high school and middle school categories were recognized in the AMA’s Haley Gallery, where the works of art that inspired the students’ essays are part of the “Home Tour: Artists Investigating Interiors, Domesticity and Identity” exhibition. The Home Tour exhibition continues through Feb 2.

“We are grateful to the teachers who help support this important program by encouraging their students to participate,” Chloe Hinton, director of education and public programming at the Albany Museum of Art, said. “This contest combines art and literacy, both of which enhance a student’s ability to succeed in school and in life.

“It was clear in the essays that the students found great inspiration in the works they chose to write about. We appreciate all of the students who came out and competed this year. They all did outstanding work.”

Students were asked to view six designated works in the exhibition and to write an essay inspired by one of those six works. The essay could be up to 1,000 words and could be written in any style.

Each essay was assigned an ID number and all identifying information in regard to who submitted the essay was removed before the essays were submitted to a panel of judges. The judges — one panel for high school submissions and a second for college essays — read and ranked the essays.

Judges for this year’s competition were Bummi Anderson, professor of English at Albany State University; Danny Carter, retired managing editor of The Albany Herald; Ulf Kirchdorfer, professor of English at Albany State University; Leslie Partridge, assistant director at Kinchafoonee Regional Library ; K.K. Snyder, editor of Southwest Georgia Living magazine, and Bill Strickland, IT manager for Southern Community Newspapers and a former journalist.

“Our judges were gracious, and we thank them for giving their time to read and rank the essays,” Hinton said. “We were fortunate to have these talented individuals agree to help with this competition.”

College and high school students competed in their respective divisions for cash awards of $250 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place. The home classes of middle school essay winners were awarded free field trips to the AMA.

In addition, middle school winners and honorable mention winners in all three divisions each received a gift card from Newk’s Eatery.

“This was the first year we had middle schoolers in the competition,” Hinton noted. “We’re thankful to Newk’s for sponsoring the gift cards for our middle school winners and all of our honorable mention winners.”

Kelsie Rey’s winning college essay was inspired by “These Things (don’t just) Happen,” a quilt work by Jessica Wohl. Georgia Southwestern State students swept the top three spots, with Amber Greenhill claiming second place with an essay inspired by “Nebraska Farm House,” a three-dimensional piece by Justin Barker, and Cassidy Warren taking third place with an essay based on “Little Italy No. 3,” an acrylic and latex on panel work by April Childers.

Honorable mentions in the college division were won by Gregory Fletcher, an Albany State University student who wrote about “In and Out No. 2,” an oil on panel by Meg Aubrey, and Haley Jackson, a Georgia Southwestern student who wrote about “House With a Table,” an acrylic and paper work by In Kyoung Chun.

Ashlinn Dapper also wrote about “These Things (don’t just) Happen.” Her sister Alana Dapper, a homeschooler who won the high school division in the 2017 contest, won second place with an essay inspired by “Denial,” a chromogenic print by Sarah Hobbs. Cailin Cutts, a Monroe High School student, also was inspired by “Denial” for her third-place essay. DeAna Cunningham, a Westover High School student, won honorable mention for her essay on “These Things (don’t just) Happen.”

Mason Flynn’s middle school winning essay was inspired by “Nebraska Farm House,” while “Denial” inspired both second-place winner Arwa Kheda and third-place winner Emily Tennyson. Baker Collier won honorable mention for his essay on “Nebraska Farm House.” All four middle school winners attend Deerfield-Windsor.

The winning essays will be collected in a special AMA publication and will be available to read soon on the AMA website, albanymuseum.com.

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