Artists Win Juror Awards in Art Show

Previously we shared that twenty artists were selected from NDA for the prestigious FOCUS Show to be on exhibition this November. Additionally, three NDA artists received juror’s awards:

Harper, Rylee (Class of 2018) for her drawing: Windwalker
Begell-Long, Raven (Class of 2019) for her oil pastel: Rigor
Jackson, Katie (Class of 2019) for her mixed media sculpture: Medal Transformation
The following students received NDA awards:
President’s Award: Shaye Brewster  (Class of 2018)  for her mixed media glass window: Hilton Head, South Carolina
Principal’s Award: Meghan Wertz (Class of 2018) for her digital drawing,  La Vieille Ville
Faculty / Staff Award: Raven Begell-Long  (Class of 2019)  for her oil painting, Raven on a Pale Horse

Carissa Kolcun ’21 Wins First Place in Art Criticism

NDA Visual Arts Department recently received the results from the 2018 Art Criticism Open. Sophomore and Art II student Carissa Kolcun won first place for her essay on Thomas Gainsborough’s, Hester, Countess of Sussex, and Her Daughter, Lady Barbara Yelverton! 

She will be honored May 5th, 2019 as this is part of the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition.  This is NDA’s second third consecutive first place in this competition.  Each year a high school class is invited to view the top twenty-five works of art in the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition and write art criticism in response to the works. These writings are printed, along with an image of the work, and made available to viewers of the exhibition. This provides an audience for students’ written work and broadens the viewers’ perspective for the art work (via:

File:Thomas Gainsborough - Hester, Countess of Sussex, and Her Daughter, Lady Barbara Yelverton - Google Art Project.jpg

Carissa Kolcun
Thomas Gainsborough
Hester, Countess of Sussex, and Her Daughter, Lady Barbara Yelverton
Art Criticism

While looking at this piece, the eye is immediately drawn to the contrast between the subjects of the painting and their background.  The dark, earthy toned, background brightens the whites and blue of the dresses, and the paleness of the skin of the Countess of Sussex and Lady Barbara Yelverton.  After noticing this it is also easy to pick up on the physical contrast of the background and foreground. The two ladies, noticeably wealthy, sit among nature, some plants even falling over their figures.  By using nature as the background, though, the artist Thomas Gainsborough gives us insight to the subjects personalities.

    Framing the Countess of Sussex are dark warm colors.  They give her a more depressing appearance, the warmer tones making her appear serious.  The Countess herself wears a tired expression. Painted on her face is a clearly forced smile.  In comparison to Lady Barbara next to her, the Countess’ dress is far more extravagant. The extravagance of the dress is a distraction from her sadness, meant to draw attention away from her pressed expression.  She wears a gray wig, giving her an older appearance despite the youth portrayed in her face. The plants overlapping her figure suggest that she wishes she had more freedom, and the black hat she holds gives the impression of a great sadness she recently suffered from, or a suppressing sadness that constantly effects her.  She is clearly represented as someone who is unhappy and tired with their life.

     In comparison, Lady Barbara Yelveton is far happier.  She is framed by a blue sky that compliments the similar shade of her dress.  In comparison to the Countess’ dress, hers is much simpler, a reference to the simplicity and youth of childhood.  Her skin is painted with yellow undertones, brightening her youthful complexion. Lady Barbara holds a small sprig in her hand, and, unlike her mother, gazes directly at the viewer, all the more expressing her youth. She wears a gentle innocent smile, and it is easy to tell she is not clouded with the same sadness that the Countess is.  

    There are further elements at play in the piece, creating a clear path for our eyes to follow.  They start in the dark reds of the top right corner of the painting. The dark shadows they create give the background depth, allowing the viewer to imagine a forest spanning behind the subjects. The reds fade into the green leaves to their left, who lack the same structured form.  They don’t cast the same shadows, but instead are defined by lines and different tints of green. We are then drawn to the deepest, though one of the lightest points of the image, the sky. The array of browns and grays, light blues and whites, gives the sky more texture than something that is typically the furthest part of the image.  This use of the detailed texture allows us to follow the gray blues of the sky to the baby blues of Lady Barbara’s dress, to the porcelain white of the Countess’ dress.

     This painting, Hester, Countess of Sussex, and Her Daughter, Lady Barbara Yelverton, is clear in its theme; people rush to achieve maturity, but only wish for the freedom of youth after.  We live so shortly in youth, quickly ushered into maturity before we can even fully grasp who we are. Trapped inside expectations, and the desire for success, we spend years working for a way out.  The Countess of Sussex is trapped inside the displeasure of reality. She is almost tired of looking for a way out, embracing the life she is stuck in. Her daughter instead lives in days stretched long by fun and bright bursts of pleasant memories.  She fears the maturity she is being forced into, hesitant to leave her childhood behind. Lady Barbara desperately holds onto her youth by the sprig in her hands, the dark leaves shadowing her mother slowly spreading over to her.

Anna Gerken ’18 Wins Life is Good T-Shirt Art Contest!

Mrs. Susan Kozel, NDA Art Chair is proud to announce that 2018 graduate Anna Gerken is a current winner for the Life Is Good T-shirt Art Contest.  The adorable image below is Anna’s design that which was inspired by her Italy trip she took with NDA between her junior and senior year last summer. The profits of sales of her design go towards the Life Is Good Kids Foundation which helps children in need.
According to the Life is good website, what we focus on grows. They asked kids to help the world grow the good by drawing what makes life good for them – and helping create a special collection Life is Good tees. The results were beautiful, hilarious, and inspiring. Over8,000 entries led them to these stellar works of wonder. ( via:  To view the winners and also to see Ann’s gallery or to purchase click the following link! – CLICK HERE



HELLO DOLLY! Callback list!

As NDA prepares for a cast list by Friday evening we would like to announce that boys may still audition for ensemble roles!
This is a smaller callback list than usual because so many parts call for a singing-dancing combo.  Call backs will start after school TONIGHT! –as soon as people can safely get there. Meet in the choir room -that is where you had your singing audition. We are never sure when these auditions will end, but we are hoping by 6:30 latest.  Some people may be allowed to leave earlier! Please wear clothes you can comfortably move and sing in that are appropriate for the venue.  Bring water–we will have some snacks.
Call-Back List in alphabetical order:
Maria Bier, Elise Brown, Peyton Burnor, Christian Eid,  Ava George, Anna Haudrich, TJ Haselman,Gabriel Hunyor, Patrick Kerrigan, Chloe Knapp, Sarah Korducki, Evan LaBeau, Renee Marting, Ada Ogbonna, Laney Poitinger, Mitchell Wiley

NDA To Perform, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

NDA presents the spring production of, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Friday, April 27 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, April 28 at 7:00 pm, and Sunday, April 29 at 2:00 pm in the Ave Maria Performing Arts Center on the campus of NDA!  Art exhibitions from NDA Visual Artists will be on display as well.  Tickets available at  $6 for students/$10 for adults.

See you at the show!

Rebecca Martin and Anna Flores Receive Art Awards in Governor Exhibition

The NDA Visual Arts Department would like to recognize art students who received awards in the 2017 Art Criticism Open – a writing competition that includes analysis and interpretation of an artwork. Both of these young ladies wrote their critiques as freshman in Art 1. Their critiques were juried over the summer and were notified of the results last semester. Current sophomore, Rebecca Martin now a sophomore in Art II, received an Honorable Mention for her critique of Adoration of the Magi by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

Juror, Dr. Jeanie Auseon, commented that, “Though the artwork’s title, Adoration of the Magi, reveals essential meaning and story within the painting, Becca does not rush into relating the meaning of the piece. Instead, through careful observation, she considers several ways in which the artist’s decision making regarding the use of elements and principles of design and compositional placement resulted in the creation of a unique and successful re-telling of a familiar story.”
Sophomore Anna Flores received first place in the state of Ohio for her critique of Sunlight on the Coast by Winslow Homer.

Dr. Auseon comments, “Congratulations Anna for comprehensively describing and analyzing what on the surface seems a straight forward depiction of nature. Her heightened sensitivity to the many visual clues within the composition resulted in a multi-layered interpretation of the profound power of nature in our lives; as well as recognition of the painter’s artistic thinking, and masterful blending of media.”

Both Becca and Anna will be awarded at the opening reception for the 2017 Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition which will be held in April in Columbus. At the end of Art I the students write a second art criticism essay on a work from the Toledo Museum of Art. Essays are sent to the Art Criticism contest that is part of the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition competitions. The essays are juried by professionals and then awards announced the next spring. In 2017, NDA had two students that had taken AP Art History as sophomores honored in first and second place, Caroline Dziubek and Mary Gerhardinger. Recently NDA received news that Anna Flores, who was a freshmen in Art I and now is in Art II, won first place in the 2017 Art Criticism Open.  She will be honored in Columbus in April of 2018.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo- Adoration of the Magi
Winslow Homer – Sunlight on the Coast