Young Artists from Thomas Jefferson and East Jefferson High Schools have Artwork Displayed at NOMA

Visitors to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) likely found themselves admiring the works of Jefferson Parish Public Schools (JPPSS) students recently.

Thomas Jefferson High senior SydniCherise Austin and East Jefferson High senior Catherine Urquhart were both honored in the 9-12 grade category of the NOMA Odyssey Student Art Contest and Exhibition. Austin took first place and Urquhart claimed third. Along with cash prizes, each student’s work was displayed in the museum from November 7 until January 25. The theme of this year’s contest was “Get Real in NOLA.” Entrants were encouraged to look at the world around them and interpret their surroundings into original works.  Austin spoke on behalf of JPPSS and each student had the opportunity to met several artists from the featured exhibition that inspired the contest, Photorealism: The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Collection.

Austin, who is an Art II student of Thomas Jefferson High teacher Laurie Holley, won $500 and a family membership to the museum for earning first place. She was inspired for her piece by a Swami Sivananda quote, “Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” Austin aspires to attend Columbia University where she wants to study biophysics while also continuing to develop as an artist.

Urquhart, who was an Art IV student last semester of East Jefferson High teacher Sandra Troups, won $150 and a NOMA family membership. A member of the school’s National Art Honor Society and Talented Art Program, Urquhart’s inspiration came from New Orleans street musicians. This honor student ranks near the top of her class and says she is looking forward to graduation this May.