Ava McCoy-Johnson '22 received a second place award in Next Page Ink's first young writers and artists competition for her portrait entitled “Move,” in acrylic paint with vibrant splashes of color. The abstract background was developed with a squeegee technique, and the portrait was created using a palette knife.
“I love using art as a time to dedicate my focus on the calming, creative process and giving myself a break—where I’m not thinking about anything else but that.” Ava has loved art since she was very young and says she hopes to use her art “as a way of spreading important messages, creating unity, and making a positive impact on other people’s lives. Hopefully I will be able to incorporate it somehow in the social justice field I’m planning on going into. I’ve already had the opportunity to use art as a way of making a greater impact through marches, environmentally conscious projects, and commemorations for those who have lost their lives due to racial violence.”
“Ava has a great deal of intrinsic motivation, even as a remote learner this year,” notes Sanford Upper School Visual Arts Chair Maria Tate. “She is already a talented and thought-provoking artist, infusing everything she does with her unique style.”
Reflecting on her work, Ava says, “The Sanford community as a whole has been super supportive and generous in not only urging me to keep creating art but also through compliments and feedback—from the art department as well as students." Her advice to other students? “Find a time for yourself to create, and take a break in whatever way that works for you.”
Launched in June 2020, Next Page Ink is an online literary magazine that held its first annual young artist competition with entries in creative writing, poetry, fine art, photography, and musical composition. The top three winners and individual judge’s awards were chosen from entries by Delaware and Maryland high school and middle school students. The most recent issue “No Feeling is Final” was specifically designed for high school age writers.