STEVENSVILLE — Kent Island High School seniors Hannah Claggett and Maggie Silver are outstanding drawing and painting students studying under art teacher Andrea Schulte, said Michael Bell, supervisor of visual and performing arts for Queen Anne’s County Schools. Both recently earned prestigious awards. They are in Schulte’s Studio Art 1: 2-D and Studio Art 2: 2-D Honors classes.

Recently, Schulte has been creating opportunities for her art students like never before, and it is paying off for them in monumental ways, Bell said.

Coming off several KIHS student artists earning the districts’ first ever Scholastic Art Region-at-large awards this past spring in Hannah Claggett (Silver Key, Honorable Mention), Nora Gast (Two Honorable Mentions), Caroline Hurlebaus (Honorable Mention) and Theresa Surina (Silver Key, Honorable Mention), Schulte kept entering her students in more contests. And more winners kept emerging from the shadows into the limelight — first at the Academy Art Museum Awards, then at the Maryland Art Education Association Walters Art Museum Student Exhibition, and now at the International Torrance Creativity Awards, where two of her KIHS seniors were awarded first place and second place in the visual arts category.

“I am very excited to share this recent announcement regarding our submissions to the International Torrance Legacy Creativity Awards,” Schulte said. “This is a tremendous accomplishment.”

Hannah Claggett, a former KIHS Arts Teen of the Week, took first in the International Torrance Awards with a drawing titled “Welcome to America.” Maggie Silver won second place for her work, “Strange Hand, Strange Land.”

Whether it’s a project based off a prompt or innovative “expressive selfie” projects, Schulte gets students to draw with such realism by encouraging them to push past their comfort zones.

“When working on our pieces, Mrs. Schulte walks around to each student, discussing possible techniques to use in our work, and she helps us to refine our skills,” Hannah said. “She’s always encouraging us to express our feelings and emotions through prompts in our visual journals, discussions in class, and learning how to create a purpose for our work so it has meaning and is personal.”

Maggie said of her work: “I chose to portray a child refugee because through art, it makes their situation more personal. The realism comes from many layers and gentle shading, which is super important for certain features, such as the smooth skin of a child.”

“When students are given the freedom to use their artistic voice to communicate something that is important to them, the results speak for themselves,” Schulte said. “Achieving realism is not always the expectation, but we spend a significant amount of time learning to draw from direct observation. I teach students how to rewire their brain to be able to see parts of the whole and avoid being overwhelmed by a complicated subject.”

Bell said Schulte is simply a “rock star” and that her students are lucky to have her as their art teacher.

“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to enter so many students in so many contests,” Bell said, “but it’s opening doors for them that were never there before. It’s a pleasure working with all the art teachers in this district, and believe me when I say — the best is yet to come. We are just getting started.”

Come out and see these outstanding, award-winning student artists at ArtScene 2020 from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at Kent Island High. Admission is free to the public and includes all KIHS elementary and middle feeder schools.

The International Torrance Legacy Creativity Awards offer students from all over the world an opportunity to submit in four major areas: Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Music Composition, and Inventions. Enthusiastic participants ages 8 to 18 can enter from across the United States and other countries.

For more information on the awards, visit www.centerforgifted.

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