Jessica Gardner’s Painting Earns La Salle Junior a Gold Medal

Jessica Gardner

Jessica Gardner, a junior AP art student at La Salle High School in Pasadena garnered a 2012 National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Gold Medal for her “untitled” painting.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, run by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, is the oldest and most prestigious national program offering early recognition and scholarships to creative teenagers. To advance to the nationals, a student must be named a regional Gold Key or Silver Key winner or Gold Key and American Visions nominee. This year’s competition attracted 200,000 submissions in 28 categories of art and writing.

“I was surprised by how big a deal this Gold Medal is,” said Jessica, whose painting, along with the works of other medalists, will be exhibited at Parsons, The New School of Design in New York City.

Jessica’s painting, “Untitled,” is of a Victorian-era chair, stark in its simplicity and yet highly detailed. An Advanced Placement Art student, Jessica chose to study the “household architecture” of chairs as her portfolio concentration. She created a series of 12 paintings of different types of chairs, using the chair “as a vehicle to express humanity in aloneness, not loneliness.” Jessica came to AP art without the traditional prerequisite work. “She obviously had talent, but she had a lot of catching up to do,” commented Ellen Slatkin, one of La Salle’s AP art teachers. “She is working in metaphors – formal chairs, casual chairs. It’s part of who she is.”

Jessica did not consider herself an artist until just two years ago when she brought her own emotions to her work and began to work for herself and not to please her peers.

Her choice of subject matter is a natural outgrowth for Jessica, who intends to pursue an art/architecture major in college.



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