Bluffton High School senior Valerie Cabanilla plans to study art at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and one day teach aspiring artists like herself.
Drawing on those desires and her creative talents, she entered three pieces of her artwork into the USCB Emerging Artists Competition. All three were accepted, and now she is anxiously awaiting the final results.
"I'm extremely excited," Cabanilla said. "When I got the news, I couldn't stop smiling."
The university invited junior and senior high school students to enter visual art of any genre or media into the competition. The response was resounding. Students from six local high schools submitted more than 200 pieces.
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"All of it was impressive," said Jonathon Goebel, assistant professor of studio art and program coordinator for art at USCB. "I was just blown away with the quality of artwork submitted by these schools."
Goebel said he and the other two members of the juried panel chose the 35 works they thought best represented the artistic talent of the region. He said the school has more than $20,000 in scholarship money to give away.
First-, second- and third-place winners will receive USCB art scholarships of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. The remaining participants will be given $500 annual art scholarships. The awards ceremony is set for 1:30 p.m. Friday during USCB's Celebrate the Arts festival on the Beaufort campus.
Goebel said this is a perfect time for the competition since the school just kicked off its studio art program in spring 2010. The program includes painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics and digital media.
"One of the reasons why we want to open our doors during this festival and bring the public into our facility ... we want them to see what we've done to invest in this campus and that we're not going anywhere," Goebel said. "This is going to be the arts campus."