Fourty-seven WACA students recognized for creative work in regional competition

INDEPENDENT PHOTO: JULIA COMNES - WACA senior Hanah Thurman holds up a some of her award-winning art. She won 25 awards at the regional level of the Scholastic art competition. 
Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy students won big at the 2018 regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which recognize creative teens for their accomplishments in visual art and writing. Forty-seven WACA students won 30 Gold Keys, 43 Silver Keys and 68 honorable mentions for their visual art pieces in the Willamette Valley regional level of the national competition.

The Gold Key-winning artwork is currently being judged at the national level by professional artists in New York City, according to WACA art teacher Catherine Johnstone.

The pieces students submit are judged on their originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal vision or voice.

Hanah Thurman, a WACA senior who focuses on drawing, illustrations and mixed media but experiments with other art forms, won a total of 25 awards. She won seven Gold Keys for drawing and illustration, two Gold Keys for mixed media pieces, a Silver Key for her senior art portfolio, five Silver Keys for drawing and illustration, one Silver Key each for digital art, mixed media, sculpture and photography, one honorable mention for digital art, three honorable mentions for drawing and illustration and two honorable mentions for photography.

Thurman said she focuses on a variety of subjects, and finds inspiration in everyday life. "I draw my inspiration from a lot of different places," she said, saying that how she feels on a certain day and the situations she's in are many of the sources of inspiration.

As for her aesthetic, Thurman said she likes using pastel colors, in addition to "sparkles and glitter and rainbow colors," she said. "Very girly."

Thurman doesn't think she'll pursue art as a career, though she's open to the possibility of doing part-time freelance work as an artist. "It's more like a hobby to me," she said.

INDEPENDENT PHOTO: JULIA COMNES - WACA senior Pedro Coronado won multiple awards for photography and painting.COURTESY PHOTO: PEDRO CORONADO - Pedro Coronado's self-portraits, inspired by drag queens and LGBTQ artists, were recognized with many awards.Another student who won many awards is Pedro Coronado, a WACA senior who photographs striking and glamorous self-portraits of himself. Coronado won a Gold Key for his senior art portfolio, along with four additional Gold Keys for photography, two Silver Keys for painting and four honorable mentions for photography.

Coronado said that in the past he would draw a lot of portraits of women wearing dramatic makeup. But as he became more interested in art made by and focused on the LGBTQ community, and as he started to experiment with wearing makeup himself, he started to make himself the subject of his art.

"I'm very influenced by queer art, drag queens and makeup," Coronado said. "As I started experimenting more with makeup on myself, I started incorporating that into my photography, so the women I drew ended up being me — I made it myself."

Photography is his main medium, and he focuses on all the details that compose the photos. "Anything, from my hair, my makeup, what I'm wearing, is photographed and designed by me," Coronado said.

He hopes to go to art school after graduating high school and continue honing his photography skills.

INDEPENDENT PHOTO: JULIA COMNES - WACA junior Julia Melkomukov won multiple awards for her drawings and illustrations, which are inspired by animations and books for children.WACA junior Julia Melkomukov also won several awards. That included two Gold Keys for drawing and illustration, one Gold Key for digital art, three honorable mentions for drawing and illustration and one honorable mention for digital art.

Melkomukov is inspired by illustrations in children's books and cartoons. Her art reflects that style, with imaginative subjects like a girl carrying a clear umbrella that appears to be filled with creatures in an aquarium.

She hopes to become an illustrator or animator, adding that she loves creating characters. "What motivates me to draw people or watch shows is the characters in them," she said.

INDEPENDENT PHOTO: JULIA COMNES - WACA junior Raul Prudencio won two Gold Keys and a Silver Key for his photography. COURTESY PHOTO: RAUL PRUDENCIO - Pictured is one of the Gold Key-winning photos by student Raul Prudencio.Another WACA junior, Raul Prudencio, won several awards for his photography. He earned two Gold Keys and four honorable mentions for his photos.

Prudencio said he's inspired by street photography and aims to shoot candid photos of his subjects. His Gold Key-winning photos feature family members and friends in i"I like working with my family," he said. One of the Gold Key photos is of a friend at a summer art camp held at Oregon State University.

A mostly self-taught photographer, Prudencio's been experimenting with the art form for about two years, and hopes to continue working beyond high school.

INDEPENDENT PHOTO: JULIA COMNES - Sophomore Ariyonna Macrum won 11 awards for her drawings.COURTESY IMAGE: ARIYONNA MACRUM - Ariyonna Macrum experiments with drawing without looking at the page. The pictured piece, titled 'Ideas,' was made using that technique.And sophomore Ariyonna Macrum was also recognized with several awards. Macrum won two Gold Keys and five honorable mentions, all in the drawing and illustration category.

Macrum focuses on creating art that reveals her subconscious self. She accomplishes that by drawing subjects without looking at where her pencil is on the page.

"All of my art is about myself and trying to understand myself," Macrum said. "I'm trying to get my feelings on paper."

Macrum started experimenting with the technique of drawing without looking at the page this past summer. She'll start by holding the subject of her drawing — for example, a lightbulb — and sketching the item without looking away from it. She'll then go over the pencil with a brush pen, sometimes adding paint or other media to the piece.

"It's a really good outlet, and it's a really good way to understand what I'm feeling," Macrum said.

An exhibition of the of the Willamette Valley Scholastic Art Award winners will be March 6-19 at the LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University, with a reception held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 10.

Full list of winners:

  • Fernando Amador — Gold Key: photography; Honorable Mention: photography (7)
  • Jasmine Barnabe — Silver Key: photography.
  • Jose Barrera — Honorable Mention: photography
  • Mya Benavidez — Honorable Mention: drawing & illustration.
  • Zoey Benavidez — Honorable Mention: drawing & illustratio
  • Maddison Bishop — Honorable Mention: photography
  • Helen Canchola — Honorable Mention: ceramics & glass
  • Orlando Canchola — Honorable Mention: photography
  • Angel Capetillo — Honorable Mention: digital art
  • Isaiah Carrasquillo — Silver Key: painting (2); Honorable Mention: painting (2)
  • Diana Castillo — Silver Key: mixed media
  • Justin Chacon — Honorable Mention: photography
  • Sarely Corona — Silver Key: mixed media, painting; Honorable Mention: digital art (2), mixed media
  • Pedro Coronado — Gold Key: senior art portfolio, photography (4); Silver Key: painting (2); Honorable Mention: photography (4)
  • Pamela Corral — Gold Key: photography
  • Alma Garcia — Silver Key: Mixed Media
  • Amayrani Guzman — Honorable Mention: sculpture
  • Kira Howell — Silver Key: painting
  • Aryel Juarez — Gold Key: photography
  • Anastasia Leschenko — Silver Key: drawing & illustration (3); Honorable Mention: drawing & illustration (3)
  • Alexis Llamas — Gold Key: mixed media; Silver Key: sculpture
  • Ariyonna Macrum — Gold Key: drawing & illustration (2); Silver Key: drawing & illustration (4); Honorable Mention: drawing & illustration (5)
  • Jordan Mann — Silver Key: drawing & illustration (5); Honorable Mention: photography (2), drawing & illustration (4), digital art
  • Annanoemi Martinez — Honorable Mention: drawing & illustration
  • Brenda Martinez — Honorable Mention: mixed media
  • Kiriana Matveev — Honorable Mention: photography
  • Julia Melkomukov: Gold Key: drawing & illustration (2), digital art; Honorable Mention: drawing & illustration (3), digital art
  • Yesenia Munoz — Gold Key: mixed media; Silver Key: painting
  • Yolanda Nava — Honorable Mention: sculpture
  • Raven Neshem — Silver Key: painting; Honorable Mention: photography, drawing & illustration
  • Luis Nolasco — Honorable Mention: drawing & illustration
  • McKenzie Oliver — Gold Key: drawing & illustration
  • Nancy Padilla — Honorable Mention: photography
  • Jullie Pennock — Honorable Mention: sculpture
  • Alejandro Perez — Gold Key: drawing & illustration; Silver Key: painting, drawing & illustration
  • Raul Prudencio — Gold Key: photography (2); Silver Key: Photography
  • Esmeralda Ramirez — Silver Key: Painting
  • Zugey Ramirez — Gold Key: photography; Honorable Mention: senior art portfolio
  • Hilda Rojas — Silver Key: painting
  • Aaron Sanchez — Gold Key: mixed media; Silver Key: painting; Honorable Mention: mixed media
  • Sofia Serrano — Honorable Mention: drawing & illustration
  • Yasmine Solorio — Honorable Mention: photography (2)
  • Hanah Thurman — Gold Key: drawing & illustration (7), mixed media (2); Silver Key: senior art portfolio, digital art, mixed media, sculpture, photography, drawing & illustration (5); Honorable Mention: digital art, drawing & illustration (3), photography (2)
  • Mya Toledano — Honorable Mention: mixed media
  • Abie Velazquez — Silver Key: photography; Honorable Mention: photography
  • Janet Victoria — Silver Key: mixed media
  • Maria Victoria — Honorable Mention: drawing & illustration, mixed media

  • Julia Comnes can be reached at 503-765-1195 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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