Crookston High School student artists show their 'Superior' stuff

Mike Christopherson
Blaine Andringa 'Self Portrait'

Crookston High School art teacher Gary Stegman, who on doctor’s orders had to quarantine at home for 11 months and teach from home during that time, says CHS art students “outdistanced the competition in impressive fashion” at this spring’s virtual version of the Minnesota State High School League Region 8A Visual Arts Festival. (The virtual art show was held at Warroad High School.)

Anke Wiersma 'zelf portret'
Ava Lopez 'The Art of Engineering'
Anke Wiersma 'Bloom'

While CHS had a dozen entries rated as “Superior,” the second- and third-place schools had six and four pieces, respectively, ranked as Superior. Crookston also had one entry receive an “Excellence” rating, which is one notch below Superior.

Anke Wiersma 'Bruised Ego'
Alexia Threatt entry
Alexia Threatt 'The Sand is Brown'

CHS submitted 13 entries and all received some form of recognition, with 12 Superior ratings and one Excellence rating. CHS students’ works earned other honors as well, including:

• Blaine Andringa’s “Self Portrait,” and Ella Weber’s “Self-Portrait” and Anke Wiersma’s “zelf portret” and “Bloom” each won the “Spotlight in the Arts Award,” meaning they were judged the best in their categories, which were drawing, ceramics, paining and print-making, respectively. Spotlight in the Arts Award-winners typically would advance to the state MSHSL art show, but due to the pandemic it’s not being held this year. 

• Wiersma’s sculpture, “Bruised Ego” received a “perfect score” of 20, along with her “Bloom” print. Ava Lopez’s sculpture, “The Art of Engineering” also receive a perfect score of 20. Stegman says a perfect score is a rare feat. The judges aren’t “famous for giving points away,” he noted.

Blaine Andringa 'Reycling the Past to Make the Future'
Cam Weiland 'Broken'
Carly Brown ceramics entry

Also entering various works recognized with Superior or Excellence ratings were Catherine Tiedemann, Cam Weiland, Emily Balboa, Alexia Threatt and Carly Brown.

Catherine Tiedemann 'The Hive Pot'
Ella Weber ceramics entry

Stegman, who’s retiring at the end of 2020-21 school year, taught via Zoom for months during his quarantine at home. He was able to return to the classroom on Feb. 22 after receiving his COVID-19 vaccine. “Teaching art from home is not fun, and was a big part of my excitement to return after quarantine,” he tells the Times. “For me, this is redemption! The kids did amazing work.”

Emily Balboa 'Pure Serenity'