February 2018

by DeeGee Lester

Director of Education

The Parthenon

For high school students, the choice to stretch themselves intellectually and academically by taking AP (Advanced Placement) classes can unleash tremendous potential and lead to astonishing opportunities. Two years ago, a position as yearbook photographer persuaded Hume Fogg Academic Magnet student Emma Crownover to apply for a senior AP art class.

“My class was a very diverse group of people. We could select our area of concentration, but we had to create twelve pieces. It takes the full year to develop and articulate your thesis,” Crownover explains. “I was just creating pieces [in photography] and seeing where it would take me. I’m definitely happy with the result.”

Her signature photograph, Censored, was part of her senior year AP 2-D design series, accompanied by eleven other pieces within the same theme. With her art teacher, Shayna Snider, as her advisor throughout the process, Crownover submitted several pieces to the prestigious Scholastic Art Competition at Cheekwood last February.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, recognized as “the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition initiative for creative teens in grades 7–12 has, since 1923, fostered creativity and talent and counts among its notable list of alumni such names as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Sylvia Plath, Ken Burns, Mozelle Thompson, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Redford, and Zac Posen.

Censored

Featuring a nude subject, Censored challenged the norm for student art, risking rejection by jurors. “I just went for it,” she says. The piece captured a Gold Key Award in photography and automatically moved on to the national competition where it won a National Gold Medal.

Weeks after graduation, Crownover was invited to Carnegie Hall in New York for the medal ceremony and to see her piece installed for exhibition along with other 2017 national medalists. “Wild” is her descriptive word for the Carnegie experience. “It was great to be behind the scenes and see how they put the event together, and then to actually be onstage for the show,” she says. “The hall itself is so formal, with lots of levels of balconies.” Recently, Crownover learned that Censored will be part of a national tour.

“Being validated like that is important, especially for young artists,” Crownover says. “It’s a big boost to your confidence.”

Crownover is currently taking a “gap year” in Spain, working as an au pair for a Spanish family. In the fall, she will enroll in Scripts College, a liberal arts women’s college in Claremont, California.

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