Spring colors haven’t yet returned to beautify the village, but Oregon art students have been doing their best to provide some satisfying indoor scenery.

With art competitions and juried shows on national, state and local levels, April tends to be a busy month for artists, which is just fine with OHS art teachers Heidi Coutré and Michael Derrick. The two have helped guide hundreds of students through district art programs, “from the time they start in elementary schools all the way through their high school years,” Derrick said.

“The school district has assembled a wonderful group of art educators at all levels of creative development to encourage the students’ artistic growth,” he wrote in an email to the Observer.

This year’s “art season” started March 17 with the National Scholastic Art Awards, held at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Students across the country in grades 7-12 submit original works to be evaluated by jurors from a wide variety of art disciplines, Derrick said. The competition in Milwaukee drew more than 3,000 submissions, of which 300 will continue on to New York for judging at the national level.

Six OHS artists earned honors: Gold key winner, freshman Vida Freed (Drawing & Illustration), Silver Key Winners, freshmen Remi Cooper and Cearah Egwuonwu (Drawing & Illustration) and junior Duncan Larson (painting). Ceila Dinkins (Photography) and Sophia Wilke (Drawing & Illustration) earned honorable mention.

Students and teachers later ventured to the Milwaukee Art Museum to view the work, where Coutré said they “really get a wonderful opportunity to see work of their peers as well as famous works to inspire and develop their own passion for art with this little adventure.”

Duck Stamp Competition

Oregon artists were among the best in the state in this year’s Federal Junior Duck Stamp Competition, including the top honor.

Freshman Samantha Derrick’s rendering of a ring-necked duck, titled “Ringing around the Pond,” was selected out of 258 entries as the 2019 Best of Show winner for the Wisconsin Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. As Wisconsin’s Best of Show Winner, her art will be judged at the national competition April 19 at the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, Md.

Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge will present Derrick, 15, with a $100 prize, a specially matted frame for her art and this year’s National Jr. Duck Stamp once it is printed. Ducks Unlimited has also provided a life-sized greater scaup decoy for her.

The national winning artwork will be created into the 2019-2020 Junior Duck Stamp and sold for $5 to support conservation education.

Along with Derrick’s top finish in the grades 7-9 grades category, OHS, freshmen Cooper and Molly Olson received second-place awards, while Paige Stevenson took home a third. In the grades 10-12 category, junior Clarisse Vicente received a first place award, and was one of five finalists for best of show. Seniors Autumn Copus and Sophia Choles received second-place honors. OHS artists also earned

17 honorable mentions, and in total, claimed 25 of the top 100 places in the contest.

The top 36 winning entries from the Wisconsin Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest will be showcased in two traveling displays across the state from May 2019 to March of 2020. For information, contact the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge at 565.2551 or email necedah@fws.gov.

Photography contest

OHS photographers senior Kieran Connery, sophomore Phoebe Jeske and freshmen Destiny Keesy and Samantha Derrick competed in the Wisconsin High School Photography contest Feb. 21. They entered pieces in the traditional photography category, with Derrick earning a second place award with a photo entitled “Winter’s Death Grip.” The award ceremony was March 3.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.