Haggin Museum awards artistic talent

Artists use personal experiences for creative inspiration

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Gian Carlo Baldonado, Staff Writer

Some of Bear Creek’s talented students showcased their artistic abilities in the 86th Annual Robert T. McKee Student Art Competition and Exhibition in the Haggin Museum — winning multiple awards for their creative artwork.

According to local travel site Visit Stockton, the Haggin Museum exhibits more than 1,000 pieces of student artworks on average every year, from kindergarteners to seniors in high school. Teachers select the best of their class to represent their school.

Senior Claire Augusto won the Robert & Sonya S. Schumacher 3 Dimensional Award for her ceramic luminary.

“The assignment was to make a luminary inspired by nature, and that’s why I chose [to make] a tree lantern,” Augusto said.

Based off of the intricately shaped trees from Gilroy Gardens, Augusto found her inspiration in circus trees.

“I always used to go to [Gilroy Gardens] with my grandmother when I was a little kid, and ever since I have liked the shape of the [circus] trees,” Augusto said. “They’re magical.”

Augusto said that she liked the balance of human aspect and natural side of the oddly shaped trees.

“There’s this human element in [circus trees] in that they’re shaped in weird ways, but at the same time they’re [a part of] nature,” Augusto said. “Art is way to preserve [this] nature.”

Junior Michelle Grosek won the Docent Council Setsuko Ryuto Award for her realistic self-portrait.

“We have to draw ourselves, and on the background we have to draw our interests or the things that we like,” Grosek said. “I put cartoon characters from cartoon shows like ‘Steven Universe’ and ‘Rick and Morty.’”

Ever since she was a kid, Grosek has found herself fond of drawing and watching her favorite TV shows. She likes to use her talent as a gateway to fantasy.

“Art is a form of an escape from your surroundings,” Grosek said, “[but at the same time], art is different from everybody.”

Freshman Devyn Inong earned honorable mention for her pen-and-ink drawing of maneki-nekos — the famous beckoning cat figurines usually displayed in stores and restaurants.

Last summer, Inong volunteered at a Japanese summer camp where she obtained her inspiration.

“I volunteered at Tan Po Po Gako at the Buddhist temple of Stockton, and they usually have an overall theme for the whole month…that month’s theme was maneki-nekos,” Inong said.

For Inong, drawing is a hobby, and art is anything that “you find appealing, — anything at all.”

Augusto’s, Grosek’s, and Inong’s artworks are on display at the Haggin Museum through April 7.