Upper Arlington News

American Visions Award

Student's artwork earns national praise


Upper Arlington High School senior Delaney Caton's ceramic sculpture, Wheelbarrow, not only won a national American Visions Award, but is currently on display for one year at the U.S. Department of Education in the ART.WRITE.NOW.DC exhibition.

Caton learned last school year that her sculpture had won the American Visions Medal in the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, but in mid-September this year, she learned it is one of 63 national award-winning artworks to be displayed in Washington, D.C.

The Upper Arlington Board of Education commended Caton and her teacher, Mark Nagel, at the Nov. 12 board meeting.

"This piece has had such a ride," Nagel said at the meeting. "It began as an assignment for students to research garden tools and to think of them in an artistic way.

"I am so happy for her and for this department," he said.

Caton and Nagel attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the national exhibition on Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C.

Nagel said the American Visions Medal is "a very big deal" on its own.

"As a teacher for the past 14 years, I have had four students receive a Gold Key in the Scholastics contest, but never had an American Visions Medal or D.C. national award-winner," he said. "When a student receives the honor of having a Gold Key in Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, it is like winning the Super Bowl.

"When you are told you are one of 63 students in the United States to be sent to D.C. for a special exhibition, well, you just became the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the game," he said.

Caton said she didn't really know anything about the American Visions Medal.

"I was amazed and exited when I found out," she said. "We had to make our own version of a garden tool, so I decided to make a wheelbarrow. Ceramic sculpture is my absolute favorite. I love building things with my hands."

American Visions nominees are selected out of all Gold Key works as the "best of show" for each region, then jurors choose the best of the nominees to receive national recognition with the American Visions Medal, according to information on the Scholastics award website.

Caton said Wheelbarrow was included in the Scholastics exhibition in New York before it went to Washington, D.C. Because her teacher also asked her to enter the piece in the Governor's Youth Art Exhibition, she made a second, identical Wheelbarrow that was selected for display in the 2012 Governor's Exhibition at the Ohio Statehouse, Caton said.

Nagel said Caton is currently gearing up for the next Scholastics competition and will be entering a contest new to the Upper Arlington High School art department -- the National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts (NCECA), in Houston, Texas.

"NCECA is a new show for us," he said. "We have never put work in this show yet and we hope to do well."

Caton said she plans to continue sculpting and artwork, but originally had planned to "open a daycare center" after high school.

"If I get a scholarship to an art school, I would definitely go," she said. "I love how creating art makes me feel -- I get so happy doing art. It is stress-relieving."

Nagel is guiding Caton in the creation of a portfolio of her work to show prospective colleges.

"I feel honored to be here in Upper Arlington, where the community supports us and the students excel at the highest level in all mediums," Nagel said. "My life as a teacher has been blessed to have many mentors, including Wes Blizzard, Thad Ricker and Joanne Stichweh (art educators)."