Heckscher Exhibit Showcases High School Artists

Harborfields High School senior Nina Bennardo’s “Cradle,” was the Renzo and Lynette Bianchi scholarship prize.

Harborfields High School senior Nina Bennardo’s “Cradle,” was the Renzo and Lynette Bianchi scholarship prize.

By Sophia Ricco

sricco@longislandergroup.com

The talented young artists featured in The Heckscher Museum’s 23rd “Long Island’s Best: Young Artists” exhibition were chosen for their impressive technical abilities and thoughtful artist’s statements.

The artists come from a variety of school districts. Over 350 student artists entered pieces, but curator Lisa Chalif and guest juror Robyn Cooper had to narrow the field down to only 80 for display.

“These students exhibiting in a museum before they even graduate high school is an incredible honor and great for the resume… It’s so reassuring when they work hard on something, to have someone else appreciate and affirm that their hard work has paid off,” Cooper said. “It helps propel them forward and even consider pursuing a career in the arts.”

As an adjunct professor of art at Adelphi University, Cooper’s time teaching high school intensives and aided admissions gave her a keen sense of student talent and ability.

“I am always inspired by their dedication and how hard they work, so this was another opportunity to see what they can truly do,” Cooper said.

During the 10-week program, “For the Love of Art” she teaches high school juniors and seniors who have been nominated by their art teachers the fundamentals of many mediums.

Huntington senior Jonah Anastos’s “4” was awarded for Achievement in Digital Art.

Huntington senior Jonah Anastos’s “4” was awarded for Achievement in Digital Art.

 “I know how dedicated they are, since they went to the museum, saw work on display and were inspired by to create something based on that,” Cooper said. “Spending time in a museum to be inspired is part of the learning experience of being an artist.”

She found it fascinating to view the different connections students made with the Heckscher Museum’s previous exhibits.

“I think this gives them a direction and a place to start, because just saying, ‘Be inspired and go make something,’ can be a little daunting,” Cooper said. “Some of the kids took this and made it so personal, while others look into the artist’s life and relate it to themselves, so they are not just picking and creating, they are really connecting.”

Cooper admits it was a challenge to select only 80 pieces, with all the hard work she viewed. Her decisionmaking ultimately came down to technical ability and how the student constructed their artist’s statement.

Half Hollow Hills East freshman Jeanna Boltz won Andrew Presberg Promising Young Artist Award for “Life’s Journey.”

Half Hollow Hills East freshman Jeanna Boltz won Andrew Presberg Promising Young Artist Award for “Life’s Journey.”

“I read every single statement and took that into consideration, how they articulated their inspiration and what brought them to this work. Every artist in every point of their career has to write an artist’s statement and the fact they get this kind of experience early on is incredible,” Cooper said.

“Long Island’s Best: Young Artists” opens on April 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m. with the award ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Cooper encourages other young artists’ to explore the exhibit and find inspiration in their peers’ accomplishments.

Who’s On The Wall
Town Of Huntington artists in the Heckscher Museum’s Long Island’s Best exhibit are

Cold Spring Harbor
Xiuya Gang
Half Hollow Hills East
Jeanna Boltz
Elizabeth Gordon
Anna Laimo
Half Hollow Hills West
Alexander Chin
Lillian Su
Harborfields
Lilyana Barling
Nina Bennardo
Gavin Mazzola
Huntington
Jonah Anastos
Vivienne LaVertu
Andrew McKenzie
Abraham Rodriguez
Alexa Splenorio
St. Anthony’s
James Norton