The women of National Art Honor Society showcase talent

Four Wakefield artists take home medals


Alana Tran for Decorative Painting

The members of National Art Honor Society recently participated in a women’s art festival with several levels of competition and the Wakefield contestants did very well in the rounds. The pieces are actually judged by local Raleigh artists themselves to give a more authentic competition.

As evidence of how well the NAHS members did at the festival, they were given feedback on their placement and it showed that there were two first place winners and two second place winners.

Dawn Valentino and Sarah King are the two art teachers at Wakefield and they thrive on the achievements of their students and members of NAHS. There was a recent women’s festival that was held locally and statewide, and the art students here shined their brightest with a plethora of pieces they presented at it.

Valentino gives insightful advice on how she influences her students to be the most creative they can. She teaches a wide variety of art classes with varying techniques so that her students receive a well-rounded education about skills and art history. The classes range from basic drawing and painting to different mixing mediums, pottery, and several other skills that are all a major part of why the NAHS members have been so successful recently.

“I really like [teaching] it all,” Valentino said. “I guess that’s why I like teaching so much because I was never an expert at any one thing, but I was very good at everything except for throwing on the wheel!”

Rosa D’ Andre for Fabric Craft

It is undeniable that art students value their teachers as mentors because they are constantly there to inspire their creative sides. This appreciation shows through in their pieces and also reflect on art history to learn valuable lessons.

“I learn just as much from them and their creativity and their ideas as they do from me so it’s really a beautiful kind of give and take,” Valentino said.

The fact that there are so many different classes with intense concentrations results in students being exposed to skills that allow them to thrive in the festivals and competitions they participate in.

“The curriculum is very open to interpretation so we can always find really fun things to do,” Valentino said.

Other than the women’s festival, there have been several other competitions that the NAHS members have taken part in which they have brought out many different aspects of creativity for them.

One outstanding art student, Senior Grace Rudiak, was included in the festival with a first-place piece. The festival is held annually and includes a prompt which can come in several forms, one year it was from a song and this past year it was an excerpt from a moving poem.

“Every year the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activities runs a competition where they put out a prompt and this year it was a poem,” Rudiak said. “Each school’s art program had to create a piece based upon it with different mediums.”

Rudiak chose to take on images associated with her home state.

“There was a really strong tone on slavery and how awful it was,” Rudiak said. “In my piece I included dogwood pieces, fields of wheat, and fists raised up in rebellion against slave owners.”

Another art student that stood out for her intricate pieces was Senior Erin Ng, who was also one of the first prize winners at the festival. Ng’s winning piece was a self-portrait in pencil that won the local judges over and she continues to want to improve on her artwork.

“I have a lot of ideas but it is hard work to get a result and seeing other artists because there are a lot of good artists here,” Ng said. “It is motivating and makes you want to work harder.”