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Laker artist honored in year-long Washington, D.C., national exhibit

Erika Wong's piece 'Eyes' gains national recognition

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lake Oswego High School senior Erika Wong's piece, called 'Eyes,' will be on display in Washington, D.C., for a full year.Lake Oswego High School art teacher Katie Brink learned recently that one of her students’ pieces will be part of a national exhibit.

Tendo Mutanda, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ senior manager of national programs, told Brink in an Aug. 17 email that LOHS senior Erika Wong’s artwork, “Eyes,” had been selected for year-long display at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) offices in Washington, D.C.

“Erika’s strong work ethic, commitment to her passion and invested interest in expressing her personal voice prove she is truly one of the nation’s best emerging artists,” Brink told The Review.

Wong’s award-winning artwork originally headed to New York for the Scholastic Art Awards Gold Medal Exhibit. Judges then chose works from among those Gold Medal winners to be in the year-long exhibit.

Wong says she was surprised when she saw the email that said her piece would be a part of the 12-month showcase.

“I didn’t expect to hear anything more from the Scholastic Art & Writing Competition after the medals were given out,” she says. “Honestly, I’m extremely flattered people took such a liking to it! ‘Eyes’ is one of my favorite works, and I’m happy to hear others enjoy it at well.”

The installation of her work in the IMLS offices coincides with the opening of “Art.Write.Now.DC,” which is a special exhibition of national medalist work from the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The alliance is a nonprofit organization that aims to encourage and promote students with artistic and literary talent.

Students throughout the nation submitted almost 320,000 original works in 2016 in 29 categories of art and writing, so Wong had quite a bit of competition in the digital art category for “Eyes.” She said the piece captures the moment when you walk into a room and heads turn toward you, and you’re not welcome in that place — or at least you don’t feel like you are.

“I wanted to recreate the unsettling feeling of anxiety — that feeling of insecurity you get where it feels like everyone is staring at you and judging you,” she says.

Wong is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 16 that features workshop opportunities for students and educators and docent-led museum tours.

“This exhibition will be on display at the U.S. Department of Education and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and we wanted to invite you to join the festivities,” Mutanda’s letter says.

By Jillian Daley
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