Finalists Named in National Arts Competition

January 20, 2004
Two seniors from the Visual Art Center (VAC) at Albert Einstein High School were named finalists in the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts 2003 Arts Recognition and Talent Search (ARTS) competition, which is directly connected to the Presidential Scholars Program.

Max Chavez, a senior at Albert Einstein High School, and Kevin Lee, who attends John F. Kennedy High School as well as receiving instruction from Einstein's VAC, were the only finalists in the arts from Maryland and were among only 20 visual arts finalists in the nation.

These winners were selected out of 6,500 entries from the United States.

The two were flown to Miami for Arts Week January 5-11, along with other national finalists in the areas of performing, literary and visual arts. During the week of interviews, exhibitions, and activities, finalists were considered for scholarships, cash prizes, and the possible nomination for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts competition.

Arts Week finalists share a $9,000 award package. ARTS winners will be notified of their award level on January 30. In addition, the National Foundation of the Arts nominates up to 50 ARTS finalists each year for consideration as one of 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts named by the White House.

Both students credited art teachers Jane Walsh and Michael Piechocinski for their influence and support.

In addition to the finalists, seven Montgomery County Public Schools students received honorable mention awards of $100 and three received merit awards of recognition.

Receiving honorable mention awards in the area of visual arts were Joanna Bresee and Grace Chiplis of Einstein High School, Claire Nemes of Poolesville High School, and Elizabeth Black of Walter Johnson High School. Other honorable mentions went to Vivian Wong of Walter Johnson High School in photography, Leigh Barkley of Richard Montgomery High School in short story writing, and Brittany Proia of Sherwood High School in musical theater.

Merit awards went to Travis Patterson of Winston Churchill High School in photography, Soo Jim of Einstein High School in visual arts, and Seyeon Ahn of Quince Orchard High School in classical piano.

The MCPS Visual Art Center, a countywide program established more than 20 years ago, is located in the art facilities at Albert Einstein High School. The goal of the program is to provide an intensive honors-level curriculum in visual arts.

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