April 25, 2019

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama State Council on the Arts

State Arts Council Awards Visual Arts Achievement in Schools Statewide & Presents Five Scholarships

Montgomery, Ala. – On Friday, April 26, at 1:00 p.m., one hundred and one (101) students from across the state will be invited onstage at the State Capitol auditorium to receive an award for their creativity as visual artists. By submitting a painting, drawing, print, mixed media, sculpture, photography, or digital art, each of these students had already won an award in their hometown district. Their work then traveled to Montgomery to be exhibited at the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery, from April 1-26. The state exhibit will culminate with an award ceremony to honor these exceptional students, their teachers and their schools. Every student who placed in the state exhibition will receive a Blue Ribbon Award. There will also be awards given for Best of District, Best of Category, and Best of Show.

This year’s Best of Show was will be awarded to Noah Williamson, an 11th grade student at Helena High School, Shelby County Schools, for Eyebert, a PLA Plastic sculpture with acrylic paint. Margaret Blankenship is Noah Williamson’s teacher. The Teacher Award will go to Connie Deal of The Montgomery Academy in Montgomery. The School System Award will go to Tuscaloosa County Schools; Walter W. Davie, Superintendent.

All visual arts achievement winners have their work photographed and their images will be showcased on the website: www.artsALABAMA.org. (Please allow 4-6 weeks for image uploading.)

The Visual Arts Achievement Program, which is in its thirty-third year, is designed to provide local and state recognition for quality visual arts programs in both public and private school systems. The program is limited to students in grades 6-12.

In addition to the district and state exhibitions, the program involves a portfolio competition for senior students who wish to pursue their arts training in higher education. The portfolios are adjudicated by professional artists and professors from the art departments of partnering institutions. Five students from the portfolio competition are selected to receive a $500 scholarship from the State Arts Council. Partner institutions match that award, providing a total of $1,000 if a student chooses to attend the partnering institution. This year our partners are: Auburn University Montgomery; Birmingham-Southern College; Jacksonville State University; Savannah College of Art & Design; Samford University; Troy University; University of Alabama Huntsville; University of Alabama Birmingham; University of Montevallo; University of North Alabama.

Scholarship winners for 2019 are: Francie Hill, The Montgomery Academy (Montgomery), Connie Deal, Teacher; Alanna Johnson, Booker T. Washington Magnet School (Montgomery), Rachel Dudley, Teacher; Erika Lewis, Booker T. Washington Magnet School (Montgomery), Rachel Dudley, Teacher; Megan Myrick, Booker T. Washington Magnet High School (Montgomery), Rachel Dudley, Teacher (Montgomery); and Sophie Petrovic, Holy Spirit Catholic School (Tuscaloosa), Tricia Schuster, Teacher.

This year’s artist/speaker at the award ceremony will be Nathaniel Allen III, Art Department Chair, at Alabama State University. He earned a BFA in Painting at Michigan State University and an MFA in Painting at the University of Mississippi.

Allen has previously worked as a website production assistant, a commercial printer and has owned and operated his own retail store specializing in art supplies comic books, cult movie rentals and toys. He has taught art courses at a variety of institutions including: The Flint Museum of Art - Flint, MI; Greater Lansing Artspace - Lansing, MI; Volunteer State University - Gallatin, TN; Watkins College of Art and Design - Nashville, TN; and, Tennessee State University - Nashville, TN.

Allen served as Director of Visual Studies at Andrew College from 2004 through 2008 and began work as an Assistant Professor of Art at Alabama State University in 2009. Allen has since then been promoted to Associate Professor of Art and was appointed to Chair of the Visual Arts Department at Alabama State University in 2016.

In addition to his visual arts knowledge and skills, Allen has written and performed original music with the band, The LG’s. He comes from a talented family which includes most notably his Aunt, Denise LaSalle and Uncle, James “Son” Thomas, one of the last of the Mississippi Delta blues men.

THE CEREMONY: State Capitol Auditorium, Montgomery; 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., Friday, April 26

BEST OF SHOW: Eyebert, PLA Plastic Sculpture with acrylic paint by Noah Williamson, a 11th grade student at Helena High School, Shelby County Schools. Margarel Blankenship is Noah Williamson’s teacher.

PORTFOLIO SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: Francie Hill The Montgomery Academy Connie Deal, Teacher (Montgomery) Alanna Johnson Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Rachel Dudley, Teacher (Montgomery) Erica Lewis Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Rachel Dudley, Teacher (Montgomery) Megan Myrick Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Rachel Dudley, Teacher (Montgomery) Sophie Petrovic Holy Spirit Catholic High School, Tricia Schuster, Teacher (Tuscaloosa)

RECEPTION: Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery located within the Alabama State Council on the Arts; 201 Monroe Street, Suite 110, Downtown Montgomery, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts, located in the RSA Tower in downtown Montgomery at 201 Monroe Street, Suite 110, Montgomery, is the official state arts agency of Alabama.

The staff of the Council, directed by Dr. Elliot Knight, administers the grants program and provides financial assistance in arts education and programming. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. For further information about the Visual Arts Achievement Program, contact Diana F. Green at 334-242-5148.


  • For more information, visit http://arts.alabama.gov
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here