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Three New Richmond students receive state awards for art

New Richmond High school senior Cree Schuh’s artwork, titled “The Healer,” is based on the image of a Hmong blessing a dead man with a crowd of people walking around.1 / 3
Starr Elementary second-grader Wyatt Engstrom’s piece, titled “Dream Drawing,” was made on scratch board and was inspired by the dream-like paintings by Marc Chagall. (Submitted photos) 2 / 3
Starr Elementary kindergartener Jade French’s artwork was inspired by Pablo Picasso’s portraits and is a self portrait of herself.3 / 3

A group of New Richmond students, two elementary and one high school, were named state art award winners at a ceremony on April 4, in the Capitol Rotunda at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, for their art pieces as part of Youth Art Month.

“Throughout the year, I save quality work from all grade levels at Starr Elementary to display at our local Youth Art Month Show at WITC,” said Starr Elementary art teacher Laura Rahn. “Of the pieces that are set aside, I choose three pieces that show students who have gone above and beyond the expectations of the grade level and the assignment.”

Youth Art Month is an annual, nationwide observance that emphasizes the value of art education for all children and encourages public support for quality art programs.

Among those three pieces Rahn chose from her Starr Elementary students, two of them went on to win awards at the state level, including kindergartener Jade French, for her piece “Picasso Portrait,” and secondgrader Wyatt Engstrom, for his piece “Dream Drawing.” Along with the two elementary level winners, New Richmond High School student Cree Schuh also won an award for her piece, “The Healer.” None of the three students were able to make it to Madison on April 4, but some of them were able to make it down to see the exhibit where their pieces were displayed before the ceremony.

“Cree is a really amazing artist,” said NRHS art teacher Bridget Haugen. “She is a senior and is planning to study art at Stout next year. Her drawing was one of the most solid pieces done by any high-schooler this year, so that’s why it was chosen from all the work at the WITC show. Cree had a storyline with her work, and that sophistication is not typical at the high school level. Her technical skill in shading is also highly difficult and successful.”

Schuh was one of six students around the state to win the Nasco Award; Engstrom won the WAEA Award; and French won the Sax Arts and Crafts Award.

“The assignment was to draw a crowd of people, so I picked to draw it on a Hmong blessing a dead man with a crowd of people around,” Schuh said. “I was shocked and honored when I found out I was receiving an award for my piece. It was my first assignment for my independent study in Mrs. Haugen’s class, and I needed to draw a crowd of people. It’s different from what kids usually do. It’s on a more serious note. It took me several weeks to finish while I worked every day in class on it.”

According to Rahn, her students got their ideas for their pieces from the art lessons they were getting in class.

“Wyatt won an award for his scratch board and to develop his idea he looked at dream-like paintings by Marc Chagall,” Rahn said. “As for Jade, she was inspired by Pablo Picasso’s portraits to do her own self-portrait in Picasso’s style. Both Jade and Wyatt are very focused and dedicated art students.”

When Rahn’s students found out they had won an award, they were both excited but also had different reactions to the news.

“They were both very excited,” Rahn said. “Jade wasn’t sure what that meant exactly, so I had to explain that some people looked at everyone’s artwork at the show and thought she did a really nice job. Wyatt was just really pumped.”

The students’ pieces were on display from March 22 to April 4 in the Capitol Rotunda. The students’ pieces and awards will be sent to them at a later date.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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