EMORY, Va. — The artwork of two Washington County students will be on public exhibit at Emory & Henry College throughout February.

Grace Moser of Patrick Henry High School and Ava Marie Workman of Abingdon High School are among 18 students throughout the region chosen for the second annual Blue & Gold Emory & Henry High School Arts Exhibition.

In December, Emory & Henry College invited area high school junior and senior students in a 200-mile radius of the college to submit artwork in any medium to be juried for the exhibition.

All artwork accepted for the exhibition had to be original, ready to exhibit and completed by students in the last two years.

During a recent opening reception in the Copenhaver Lobby of the McGlothlin Center for the Arts, Moser, a high school senior, learned she is among only three students awarded scholarships to Emory & Henry College.

Moser’s abstract painting “Colorful Girl” was selected as part of the exhibition.

The other scholarship winners attend Western Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Heather Jackson of Northwood High School in Saltville, Virginia, received an award of merit, along with two other students from Patrick County High School in Stuart, Virginia.

According to Manda Remmen, assistant professor of art and department chair at the college, the mission of the juried exhibition is to make connections with high school artists in the region.

“And to showcase the amazing student work being created by these young artists,” she said.

Cathy Hicks, art instructor at Patrick Henry High School, was notified of the exhibition in December.

“I always like for my students to enter contests, especially ones outside of the school,” said Hicks.

“It’s nice for my students to get other opinions other than my own. Grace is a wonderful art student because she likes to experiment with different techniques. Abstract has always been her favorite, and it’s very personal for her.”

Grace Moser has a hard time thinking of a time when art wasn’t important to her. As a child, she did illustrations for stories she wrote. More recently, she has attended art events at the Town Square Center for the Arts and also taken art lessons at the Glade Spring arts center.

An art student at Patrick Henry High School, Moser said her passion for art has evolved into painting abstracts of people.

“I like painting abstracts because it lets the viewer take what they want from the painting. It’s more open to interpretation. I chose the name ‘Colorful Girl’ because I wanted an ambiguous title for the painting,” she said.

“My own interpretation depends on what mood I’m in,” she said with laughter.

“I think we’re all made up of our own dark and light experiences. My grandmother was sick for a long time, so that created some darker times in my life. The lighter colors in the painting come from having a really nice family and friends who love and support me,” said Moser.

“I just hope my audience feels something when they look at ‘Colorful Girl.’ I want them to think about the things that make them happy and sad and how those experiences have shaped their lives.”

Ava Marie Workman also began dabbling in art when she was a child. The student said much of her creative inspiration comes from her artist father.

“I learned a lot of skills from my father when he and I spent time drawing together,” said Workman.

The high school senior is drawn to color and enjoys painting nature scenes especially sunsets and sunrises. But, every now and then, she creates something out of the ordinary, such as a charcoal portrait of Elizabeth Taylor to satisfy her fascination with old movie stars.

Her recent work on exhibition at Emory & Henry College is an acrylic painting of a cherry tree in bloom and a pastel painting of snowy mountains.

The artwork of Moser and Workman, along with students from throughout the region, can be viewed from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the McGlothlin Center for the Arts at Emory & Henry College. For more information, call 276-944-6333.

Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at news@washconews.com.

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