Expressing visual success

Junior’s art works enter into prestigious competition


Photo Courtesy of Delaney Aikins

Junior Delaney Aikins’s painting titled “Barney” earned a Gold Key. Because of this, the piece will be entered into a competition in New York City. “For the portrait we were supposed to use acrylic paints and then I went to Hobby Lobby and got gold foil,” Aikins said. “I wanted to mess with the foil and that’s where the latter in her shawl came from.”

Michelle Zhang, Opinions Editor

Through Millard West High School, a variation of art classes are provided, ranging from Drawing to Painting to Pottery. Along with these classes are opportunities, and for junior Delaney Aikins, the chance to express creativity and enter the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. This year, students submitted nearly 340,000 works of visual art and writing to the Scholastic Awards. For Aikins, her three entries were recognized and awarded. Her work “Getting Mulch” received an Honorable Mention, “Squishy Squishy”, a self portrait, received a Silver Key and her painting titled “Barney” earned a Gold Key.

“Ms. Hoffman emailed me asking about an entry to a competition and I was like yeah you have them so might as well,” Aikins said. “I actually got lucky because Hoffman is my QT teacher and she always has me on speed dial.”

Photo courtesy of Delaney Aikins
“Getting Mulch” received an Honorable Mention, marking recognition for all the pieces Aikin’s had submitted. “For this work, we were doing a unit over impressionism and I was trying to think where something really pretty,” Aikins said. “I remembered I took a picture of a garden center I went to with my grandpa and I was like this is it.”

Art teacher Kristin Hoffman has allowed Aikins to develop and express her art skills through the curriculum taught in her classes. Because of this, Aikins was allowed all the opportunities to expand and develop pieces to be displayed.

“Delaney Aikins is very hard-working and creative, she always problem solves to come up with an original solution that also meets the objectives of the project,” Hoffman said. “Her craftsmanship skills are at a very high level so she is able to express her visual concepts well.”

Because of in-class support, Aikins is able to execute different perspectives and ideas on topics that are provided to her. Along with this drawing, Aikin’s painting titled “Barney” was submitted, receiving a Gold Key, and then was forwarded to the national level of adjudication in New York City. 

“I am so happy for Delaney that three of her artworks got into the show, and she was awarded one of each of the awards,” Hoffman said. “I can’t wait to see what she will create in the future.”

Following submission to NYC, Aikins is able to exceed her own standards on a new platform, even if it’s just in a high school class.

Photo courtesy of Delaney Aikins
Aikins worked on a self portrait drawing developing skills in shading and depth for the piece. In the Scholastic Art & Writing competition, the work received a Silver Key. “For the ‘Squishy Squishy’ drawing, we were supposed to stand there and smile so I asked Hoffman if I could mess with my face,” Aikins said. “Most of the other students went along with what we were doing in class but sometimes I like to spice it up.”

“I’ve been doing art since I was a kid, I’ve always liked to draw,” Aikins said. “In middle school I would do this thing where I would draw in a sketchbook once or twice a month like when I went to Europe this last summer I brought a sketchbook with me.”

Throughout high school, Aikins has been able to express her creativity and implement her ideas. Because of this, she has excelled in the subject and achieved well.


National medalists will be announced on Monday, March 2020.