On June 2nd, EF Academy New York IB art student, Meihan Hu, was presented with a National Medal for her artwork, On Tiptoe, at the 2016 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall where celebrity speakers like actor Alec Baldwin, fashion guru Tim Gunn and Poet Laureate Billy Collins gave inspiring and passionate speeches.
Nearly 18,000 pieces earned regional Gold Key awards and advanced to the national level of the competition. Of those Gold Key works, just 2,400 received National Medals – that is only 1 percent of the art and writing pieces submitted to the Awards this year.
Meihan, who is from Shenzhen in southern China, submitted two pieces to the competition – a drawing and a mixed media collage. It was the collage, the more unusual of the two pieces, that was awarded.
“On Tiptoe is based on a photograph that my parents took of me when I was still in primary school in China. I loved to wear the school uniform and in the picture I was playing with the furniture in my room,” Meihan said.
With this piece, she aimed to capture the joy of the memories she has of when she was younger, she added.
“For the background, I used rice paper from China which makes the piece look simple – the color is not exactly white, it’s transparent and neutral. For the dress on the girl, I used origami paper from Japan and it’s really fancy with a lot of patterns and flowers on it. This creates a contrast and makes the girl stand out from the background,” Meihan explained.
The day before the awards ceremony, Meihan attended a special prom called the “Makers Prom” at the Roosevelt Hotel for all the National Medal winners, and IB art teacher Jessica Eddis was invited to a special breakfast for the National Medal educators at the Pratt Manhattan campus.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with other teachers from all over the United States,” Mrs. Eddis said. “The President of the Pratt Institute, Dr. Thomas Schutte, gave a speech and other Pratt faculty gave art education presentations.”
The art exhibition featuring all of the National Medal winners’ pieces was at the Pratt Manhattan campus and at Parsons: The New School for Design. After the educator breakfast, Mrs. Eddis, Meihan and Meihan’s parents, who had traveled from China for the ceremony, went to Parsons where Meihan’s work was on display.
“Everyone was beaming with pride,” Mrs. Eddis said.
Meihan spent four years at EF Academy New York, moving from the IGCSE program in Grades 9 and 10 to the IB program for Grades 11 and 12. She had never taken art classes before starting the IB program. Next year, she will study Fashion Design at Parsons in New York.
“We’re very proud of Meihan and I’ve looked forward to celebrating her achievement since we were informed that she had won the National Medal in March,” Mrs. Eddis said. “She’s a very talented student.”