Needham students recognized with Scholastic Art Awards

Needham High student Ali Bartlett received an American Vision Award for her work, “Withdrawal.” (Photo courtesy of Ali Bartlett)

By Josh Perry
Hometown Weekly Staff

Last week, Director of Fine and Performing Arts David Neves announced that once again Needham High and Pollard Middle School students had received a number of awards in the annual Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards competition.

This year, 31 high school students and eight middle schoolers received a total of 58 awards for their impressive art that was created both individually and through art classes at the schools.

One student set a new standard for Needham. Ali Bartlett, a senior at Needham High, not only received four Gold Keys, to add to the awards she received last year, but was also honored with an American Vision Award, which is given to the top artists from across the state.

This is the first time that a Needham student has received this award.

Five pieces are selected for the award per region (15,000 submitted pieces in Massachusetts) and from those five one will be chosen for a National American Visions Medal. Bartlett has certainly found herself in very select company in the state’s art community.

“It is a prestigious award since so few are selected out of the enormous body of talented students and I feel extremely honored to have received such an award,” she said.

Bartlett received the award for her oil painting, “Withdrawal,” which she created as part of her AP art concentration on technology and isolation. She explained, “In the piece, I used the ominous red light from an exit sign to evoke a feeling of tension and unease.”

Last year, Bartlett received a national medal but this honor has even more meaning. She said, “This time my piece was picked as one of the best pieces out of all of the work submitted in the Massachusetts region.”

Bartlett added, “When I submitted my work, I had no idea it would receive this high of an honor. To be honest I didn’t really know the award existed until I had won it.”

Currently, Bartlett is taking Senior Studios, her final class in the Needham High art sequence. She noted that she is working on new techniques and new medium. She has tried her hand at jewelry making and printmaking.

“I think [it] is really helping me grow artistically,” said Bartlett.

“There is always something I can work on to become a better artist. I learn something from every piece I create; as I try new techniques, I gain new insight and perspectives.”

Needham High students receiving the prestigious top award of a Gold Key were Ali Bartlett (four), Cameron Flynn, Laura Geraci, Monika Hedman, Ellen Ingwerson, and Claurdia Meyer. Silver Keys were awarded to works by Ali Bartlett (two), Ben Braun, Christine Bronski, Elisa Cifiello, Alex Dorion, Megan Farretta (two), Mizuki Hirayama (two), Carson Mcnatt, Claurdia Meyer, Aliza Phillips, Priya Skelly, Brianna Tse, and Maddie Varga.

High School Honorable Mention awards went to Erin Barker (two), Ali Bartlett, Ariela Basson, Eliza Corderman, Alexia Davos, Alex Dorion, Megan Farretta (two), Monika Hedman, Mizuki Hirayama (four), Abigail Keeler, Ethan Lee, Marysa Lee, Karli LeFort, Jessica Mahoney, Samantha McAward, Will Meagher, Claudia Meyer, Julia Orenstein, Julia Owen, and Aliza Phillips.

Pollard Gold Key recipients included Avery Mathias and Megan Winig. Elizabeth Doyle, Avery Mathias, Evan Santostefano, Helena Zhang earned Silver Keys and Lisa Kaufman and Avery Mathias were Honorable Mentions.

All of the Gold Key-winning art will be on display at the EF Center Building in Cambridge from March 5-20. Gold and Silver Key work will also be displayed at the Needham Library during the month of May. Pollard students will have their work on display at the Pollard Art Show.

Josh Perry is an Editor at Hometown Weekly. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

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