Centreville While many students began their summer vacations, two rising seniors at Chantilly High did something different: Yewon Kwon and Anne-Sophie Kim went to Radford University to attend the Governor’s School for Art.
But it’s not the first time they were honored for their artwork. Both won a gold key in regional competition, earlier this year; and then on April 29, Kwon received the Award of Excellence in the Arts during a ceremony at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
She was one of 35 recipients of the honor, which is sponsored by the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters. The awards program recognizes the most promising, junior-level talent from 35 area high schools.
“I was really surprised because, up until now, I didn’t really win much for art,” said Kwon. “The Art Department teachers selected me, and it was really nice getting to see The Kennedy Center.”
Then on June 1 at New York’s Carnegie Hall, she received the National Scholastic silver medal for printmaking for one of her works that was on display in March during the Chantilly Pyramid Art Show. She titled it “Migraine.”
“I thought that, if you had a migraine, it would probably feel like monsters in your head,” she said. “So that’s what I tried to show.”
Kwon’s gold key in regionals was for “a mixed-media piece saying that literature nowadays isn’t as great as it used to be,” she said. “Now I see books about vampires and supernatural romances, which aren’t as original.”
She said she did a great deal of artwork when she was younger, but didn’t start working really hard at it until high school. “It’s easier for me to express myself that way,” she said. “I like the creative process.”
Kim’s gold key was for a black-and-white pen drawing of a pair of shoes. But they weren’t just any shoes — the heel of one shoe depicted the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa, surrounded by other famous buildings in Pisa, Italy.
Now both girls are participating in the month-long Governor’s School for Art. Before they left, they spoke about it with Centre View. “At Radford, they’ll teach us more about art and help us grow,” said Kwon.
She also noted that getting in was “very selective.” Kim said the panel chose just “45 people out of about 350 applicants in the whole state.”
Actually, added Kim, “I was kind of surprised [to be accepted] because there were a lot of good artists trying out.” Kwon said they had to list their awards and GPAs — hers is 3.6 and Kim’s is 4.2 — on their applications. Then they went to the University of Mary Washington to show portfolios of their work.
After that, said Kwon, “We had to draw objects in a particular room; we did three of them in two or three minutes each.” Kim said most of the objects were tribal masks.
“Then we all set up our artwork on a table and [the judges] looked at it,” said Kwon. “They also interviewed us about our artwork and why we wanted to go to Governor’s School.”
“I said I wanted to expand my styles and be in an environment of other artists,” said Kim. “Art is really different from my other core academic classes so, in a way, it’s a relief to me.” And like Kwon, she said, she got more serious about her craft in high school.
Kwon told the judges she wanted to improve some of her drawing skills because realistic drawing is not her strong suit. She also said she wanted to attend Governor’s School “to be around other kids with the same mindset.”
She eventually wants to enroll in the Maryland Institute College of Art and would love to someday become a professional artist. Kim says she might major in both English and art in college and become a high-school teacher. Meanwhile, both girls have one more year of high school to complete.
As for their advice to other, budding young artists, Kwon said they should “keep trying, because someone out there will like your work.” Added Kim: “Go with your idea — if it makes you happy, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks.”