Senior Maria Ignacio was among several MHS student artists recently honored for their outstanding work

COURTESY PHOTO: ALISSA TRAN - Maria Ignacio receives her $20,000 scholarship to Pacific Northwest College of Art.Lately, several young Molalla artists have received accolades for their work. Among the artists is Molalla High School senior Maria Ignacio, who received a $20,000 scholarship to Pacific Northwest College of Art for her sculpture, "Catrina."

Several other MHS student artists were featured in the Clackamas Education Service District Art Show and the earlier Oregon Potter's Association Showcase.

Ignacio was surprised with her special award at the Clackamas ESD Art Show reception on Thursday, May 2.

"I honestly never imagined being selected for this award," Ignacio said. "I set low expectations for myself because I do not want to end up upset for not winning anything."

Of course, May 2 did not disappoint. Local creatives Sandy Perazza, Mauricio Valadrian and Christine Toth hand delivered the awards to the students, according to a press release from Clackamas ESD, and answered questions about careers and hobbies in art.

As far as Ignacio's future goes, she hopes to earn a degree in fine arts for visual arts, as well as a teaching certificate so she can one day return to Molalla High and pass her knowledge along as a teacher. She is undecided as to whether she will attend PNCA, as the award was so unexpected, she said.

Ignacio's winning art piece, "Catrina," is a ceramic bust inspired by Dia de los Muertos, a tradition her family has celebrated for years. As a youngster, Ignacio had the privilege of traveling to the Mexican state of Michoacan, where her parents were born. She fell in love with the culture and traditions.

COURTESY PHOTO: ALISSA TRAN - Maria Ignacio's 'Catrina.'"Seeing my family celebrate it made me fall in love with the idea of celebrating your loved ones who have passed away," Ignacio said. "I'm a sucker for anything traditional and cultural."

In addition to receiving the scholarship money, Ignacio will also have her work displayed at a special exhibit at the One River School of Art and Design, and she will receive some mentorship, said Alissa Tran, MHS art teacher.

"I would want to say I'm very thankful for my art teacher, Mrs. Tran, for giving me endless opportunities and supporting me through my art career in high school," Ignacio said.

Along with Ignacio, four other MHS students had the honor of having their work displayed in the Clackamas ESD Art Show. They were freshman Ashley Goetz, sophomore Natalie Huff, junior Genesis Totten and senior Grace Higginbotham.

Many viewed the student's art pieces, including administrators, superintendents, state officials and elected officials, who frequent the building where the work was displayed.

According to the ESD, these same individuals make crucial decisions about funding and other support for arts curriculum and programs. With the visual arts having few opportunities for this kind of exposure, the art show serves as a reminder of the importance of visual arts in school, the ESD pointed out.

COURTESY PHOTO: ALISSA TRAN - Max Tate (right) and Jaycee Gago (to his left) receive their awards at the Oregon Potter's Association Showcase.

Prior to the ESD show, four MHS students had their work displayed at the Oregon Potter's Association Showcase, where their work was viewed by thousands of people. The students were Max Tate, Sarah Upton, Jaycee Gago and Colby Hill.

COURTESY PHOTO: ALISSA TRAN - Jaycee Gago's skull bust.On April 27, Tate received an honorable mention and Gago was recognized for her ceramic bust of a skull with roses and received a $1,000 scholarship from the Oregon Potter's Association. The work was juried by professionals and selected based on technical skill, creativity, future aspirations and the artist's statement, according to Tran.

When asked what she plans to do with her scholarship money, Gago said, "I just want to keep playing with mud."

Kristen Wohlers
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