Two students at Hilliard schools are among those whose artwork has been selected as Best of Show in the 2013 Central Ohio Regional Exhibition of the Scholastic Art Awards.

Two students at Hilliard schools are among those whose artwork has been selected as Best of Show in the 2013 Central Ohio Regional Exhibition of the Scholastic Art Awards.

Meghan Borders of Hilliard Davidson High School and Abigail Niehaus of Hilliard Darby High School each have artwork on display through Feb. 2 at the Canzani Center Gallery at the Columbus College of Art and Design.

Regional shows have three levels of recognition: Gold Key, Silver Key and honorable mention. The Best of Show selections represent five pieces chosen from 50 Gold Key award winners in the regional contest. The five selections are nominees for American Visions Medals in a national competition in March in New York City. Nominees at the national competition are culled from Gold Key award winners at each regional competition.

Faculty members of the Columbus College of Art and Design served as the jury and reviewed about 1,400 individual pieces of artwork and portfolios submitted work for consideration.

It is the second consecutive year that the college has hosted the regional contest, although it has done so intermittently in the past, said Densil Porteous, director of admissions at Columbus College of Art and Design, and coordinator of the competition.

Students in grades seven to 12, from public, private or home schools, send in artwork for 28 categories, including paintings, photographs, ceramics, graphic design projects, sculptures, drawings and multimedia works.

Schools in Ashland, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Pickaway and Richland counties were eligible for the central Ohio regional contest, and students submitted approximately 1,400 individual pieces and portfolios for judging. Fifty were chosen as Gold Key winners.

Niehaus, 16, is a junior at Darby.

She said she was perhaps the most surprised to learn she was a Gold Key and Best of Show winner, not because she doubted the excellence of her work, but that she overlooked a letter notifying her of the accomplishment.

Niehaus had been on a family vacation and never read the letter sent to her. Her teacher, Darice Veri, was the first to tell her.

"I thought my work wasn't selected because I hadn't got a letter. I was so excited when she told me," Niehaus said.

Niehaus created a ceramics piece called "Family." It depicts 20 or so cylinders, each in different size and color, to illustrate how the smallest member of a family looks up to the next larger family member, that one to the next larger and so on.

"I've always looked up to my family members," said Niehaus, adding the work is also meant to convey family members uniting to overcome challenges.

Borders, 17, is a senior at Davidson.

She said she also was surprised to learn her submission was Best of Show, but for a different reason: the same entry failed to be named a Gold Key in last year's contest.

Borders' project, a one-minute video created with digital tiles, relies on a true-life humorous anecdote told by a close friend, who had a non-injury encounter with a pellet gun.

Animals are used as characters and her friend's real voice and other human voices are electronically manipulated to provide a soundtrack.

"I made it as a prerequisite to enroll in a video-making class in school," Borders said. "I'm excited it was chosen."

Borders said she is considering attending the Columbus College of Art and Design next year.

Porteous said the artists whose projects were selected demonstrate a command of the chosen medium.

"This event presents a great opportunity to recognize and nurture the creative talents of students in our area," Porteous said. "We look forward to hosting the students and their families on our campus at the awards ceremony to further encourage the students to pursue their creativity."

The Canzani Center Gallery at Columbus College of Art and Design is at Cleveland Avenue and East Gay Street in downtown Columbus. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.