Helena student wins best in show

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

On April 26, the Alabama State Council on the Arts hosted students from all over the state at the Capitol in Montgomery for an invitation-only awards ceremony and reception.

This was the pinnacle of their 33rd annual Visual Arts Achievement Program.

Students competed in regional districts all over the state, and from those divisions, 100 students received the honor of being asked to come to Montgomery.

Helena High junior, Noah Williamson, poses with his award winning sculpture, “Eyebert.” (Contributed)

Of those 100 young artists, four students representing Oak Mountain, Shelby County, Chelsea and Helena high schools, and one student from Helena Middle School, represented the talent in Shelby County.

The work of all participants was available for viewing by the public the entire month of April at the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery in Montgomery.

Emma Carr, 12th grade of Oak Mountain, competed in drawing.

Ruthie Johns, ninth grade of Shelby County, competed in painting.

Julia Moreno, 12th grade of Chelsea, competed in printmaking.

Edgardo Alvarado, eighth grade of Helena Middle, competed in drawing.

Noah Williamson, 11th grade of Helena, competed in 3D craft.

From this small group of Shelby County contenders, Noah Williamson took home the honor of Best of Show for his plastic sculpture titled “Eyebert.”

Middle School student Edgardo Alvarado won best of District IV-B, which includes Shelby County and parts of Jefferson County.

Both students hail from the Helena school system.
Helena High School teacher Emily Nelson had this to say about the art program at her school: “We try to foster student artistic development so that students can have an artistic experience that is individual, whether it is a student who just wants to sample one year of art, a serious art student who is planning on going into a Visual Arts field, and everything in between. We work together as a cohesive department and as we collaborate for growth, the student work continues to improve. Students from this program are continually successful in the realm of artistic competition, community service, arts-related scholarships and post-secondary visual arts fields. We are so proud of students like Noah Williamson for pushing the envelope and continuing to grow.

“Mrs. Blankenship and I have both had the privilege of teaching Noah for the past two years in both traditional art classes and digital media classes,” she said of Williamson. “He is a self-starter whose passion for innovation and creative exploration drive him.”
When asked about his experience with this year’s competition, Williamson said, “It felt great to win such an honor. I work really hard on my sculptures, and it was refreshing to realize that the judges of the exhibition saw value in my work. I really enjoy having art class each day. It is great to have time within the school day to hone my skills.”
In two weeks, the work from all 100 students invited to the program will be available for viewing at artsALABAMA.org.