Art Students from ALA Selected for the All-State Championship

Featured from left to right: "Crestfallen" by Megan Halley, "Hidden" by Camron Gabler, and "The Shadows Hidden " by Lauren Peterson Photo: American Leadership Academy

By Bryson Walker

Considered one of the largest art competitions in the United States, the Springville Art Museum All-State Championship has over a thousand entries every year.

Under the direction of Ali Royal and her staff, the competition judges organize all the entries into categories by school and select about one-third to be judged.

Derek Hegsted, the Visual Arts Director at American Leadership Academy said, “With over 13 scholarships available, the competition is considered one of the most prestigious of its kind. To be juried in it is an award in itself.” Mr. Hegsted’s students have won 29 State awards over the past nine years.

The award winners also receive a special invitation to go to the state capitol, meet with the governor and other legislators and learn how the sessions are run.

Camron Gabler received the Masters Academy of Art Scholarship. He has excelled in figure painting. His chosen medium is acrylic which is extremely difficult to control because of its quick dying quality. “We teach modest figure drawing and the study of the human anatomy for advanced artists but only by request of the parent,” said Mr. Hegsted.

Last year Camron won the People’s Choice Award at the Utah Valley University State Championship for high school students. He aspires to study and graduate in computer tech and sciences. “He has had to learn patience, both with the medium and with his grumpy old art teacher who is never satisfied,” remarked Hegsted.

Megan Halley also received the Masters Academy of Art Scholarship. Her piece deals with deep psychological emotion and the scarring of life as a youth in America. Her medium is graphite and her work shows exceptional control and creativity. She said, “I was challenged to say something that may make some people uncomfortable but allows others to know they are not alone in their struggles.”

Lauren Peterson is in the Ceramics class as an advanced student. Because of her unique ability, she was able to draw upon the difficulties in her life and put them in clay. She said she wanted to represent the twisted ways that life can take. She developed that message by taking the clay and twisting the tree branch. “There are many symbols of her emotions in her work,” Hegsted added.

“I tell my students that as long as you don’t ask me to help you become a professional, I will help you with whatever you want to learn.” When his students ask why he won’t help them become professionals, his face fills with horror and he answers dramatically, “Because I need to look your parents in the eye and tell them I’m not trying to turn their child into another starving artist!”

The exhibit will be open to the public from February 3rd to March 23rd at the Springville Museum of Art