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Art Students at Hutchinson High School Receive State Awards


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Students at Hutchinson High School have been recognized for their outstanding ceramic art pieces at the Eastern Kansas Scholastic Art and Writing Awards presented by the Alliance for Youth Artists and Writers. 

Six students from Hutchinson High School were selected for recognition at this year’s awards, with seniors George Hoffman and Nolan Wallsten receiving Silver Keys, the second-highest honor that can be earned.

According to the Mark Arts website, “The Eastern Kansas Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition showcases select artwork created by middle school and high school students from 70 Kansas counties. The Scholastic Art Awards are the largest and longest-running recognition program for young artists in the United States, identifying and rewarding students who demonstrate superior talent and achievement. Participants, supported by their visual arts teachers and other community mentors, create and submit their best works of art. Each work is reviewed by a panel of art professionals for originality, technical skill and the emergence of personal vision.”

George Hoffman received a Silver Key for their work titled “Blue-Collar.” Hoffman said it was a simple process to create, but took time to get just right. 

“I studied facial features for this piece. I started with a newspaper bust, then I put clay on top of it and painted it before putting it into the kiln. I’ve been interested in art since I was really young, and it’s a way for me to get my creative thinking out. Getting an award for my art was great validation because I have been trying to get better,” said Hoffman.

Nolan Wallsten received a Silver Key for their work titled “Tony the Prano” which is modeled after the television character Tony Soprano.


“I draw inspiration from tv and movie characters. When it comes to the sculpting process, it’s about picking the right subject, someone who has a unique facial structure. I like modeling faces that have interesting features and wrinkles because there are more details. I would tell younger art students, take advantage of being in school. Teachers are a great resource for getting help for awards like this,” said Wallsten.

Both Wallsten and Hoffman also received Honorable Mentions for other pieces of art that they submitted to the awards. Adysen Norton, Julz Rangel, Averi Valdois and Sadie Hardcastle also received Honorable Mentions for submitted work. 

Hoffman’s and Wallsten’s winning pieces will be showcased at the Mark Arts School of Creativity and Youth Gallery in Wichita, KS, from February 10, 2023, through March 23, 2023. Both students will be honored at an award ceremony hosted by Mark Arts on March 25, 2023.