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Liza Jackson Preparatory School students shine at Annual Van Porter Art Show

Students from Liza Jackson Preparatory School have once again demonstrated their artistic talent, with four out of five submitted entries winning awards at the prestigious annual Van Porter Art Show […]

Students from Liza Jackson Preparatory School have once again demonstrated their artistic talent, with four out of five submitted entries winning awards at the prestigious annual Van Porter Art Show hosted by the Arts and Design Society of Fort Walton Beach.

The Van Porter Art Show, named after a renowned local artist known for promoting art among young students, is an elite competition open to 8th graders and high school seniors. Each participating school can submit only five students, who must present three pieces of artwork and an essay on what art means to them.

Kiley Brantley winning the Middle School Van Porter Student Artist of the Year award for her body of work and essay. 

Eden Preston, the art teacher at Liza Jackson Preparatory School, faced the challenging task of selecting the five students to represent the school. 

  • “I look at all the students I’ve had this year, their breadth of work that they’ve had, and I try to narrow it down to ten students,” she said. “From there, I’m looking at who is the strongest, who has the most breadth, is anything slightly different, unusual, or exciting!” 

Liza Jackson Preparatory School’s students excelled at the competition, with Kiley Brantley winning the Middle School Van Porter Student Artist of the Year award for her body of work and essay. 

  • Kensley McCall received the ADSO Merit Award for her marker piece titled “Beyonce.”
    Julia Anderson secured second place with her oil pastel work “A Change is Gonna Come.”
  • Amaya Obenchain took third place with her watercolor painting “To See.”

“It makes me incredibly proud that I saw all of these kids putting in the effort, asking the questions, and coming in during other classes,” explained Preston. “Art is not a core class, but to these kids, it was important. It was the space that they felt safe, that they had a moment where they could express themselves.”

Julia Anderson secured second place with her oil pastel work “A Change is Gonna Come.”

Principal Kaye McKinley emphasized the importance of supporting arts programs in schools, stating, “We’ve excelled in art mainly because we have great art teachers and they put the effort into the kids. The students are shining examples of what just a little effort can do, along with teachers pushing them to be the best they can be.”

Other students from the area also received recognition at the Van Porter Art Show. 

  • Ava Harder from Ruckel Middle School won first place with her digital artwork “Madhatter.” 
  • Isabelle Imandi and Lexi Schrand from Destin Middle School received honorable mentions for their paper mache pieces “Rainbow Drippies” and “Grey Cobra,” respectively. 
  • Lilly Porras from Ruckel Middle School also earned an honorable mention for her mixed media work “Marley.”

The students’ artwork will be on display at the Arts and Design Society in downtown Fort Walton Beach until Friday, March 15, allowing the community to appreciate the talent and dedication of these young artists.

ADSO is located at 17 First Street SE, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 32548

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