Student’s Art Contains A Global Message, and Wins a Scholarship

Student’s Art Contains A Global Message, and Wins a Scholarship

Global warming is just one of the many messages expressed in arts competition.

Lizzie Kye is inspired by global warming.

Lizzie Kye is inspired by global warming.

Lizzie Kye of Chantilly High School was awarded a scholarship in the Regional Scholastic Art Awards Ceremony for the Fairfax County Art Region


Photo contributed

On the snowglobe, the polar bear is melting.

for her series of artworks that depicted nature vs global warming. Her entry painting was a bear melting over a snow globe of the industrial world – a pretty heavy depiction for this high school senior.

“I’m very concerned with the effects of global warming on the world. As my painting suggests, I’m concerned for how it affects animals and natural environments, but I’m also extremely concerned about how it affects human life,” Kye said.

Her melting polar bear picture is part of a portfolio titled "How Have Humans Affected the Natural World." In Lizzie’s portfolio, she has other colorful pictures of wildlife being impacted by humans in a negative way. There is a frog with machine-like orthotics, mechanical fish envying the natural fish scene in a bottle, and a marionette bird flying above factory smokestacks.

“I’ve lived in Virginia my whole life, and the changes in the weather I’ve observed scare me,” she said, and noted the role an artist plays with global statements like this. Lizzie started art in eighth grade, but learned over time that there needs to be a statement with every piece of artwork and this is important to grow an artist’s personal beliefs and artistic style. “Of course, I’m still young, and I’m still developing the substance piece in my art, however, I want to keep trying to making art that can show off my personality and move people at the same time,” she said.

This annual event is hosted by Fairfax County Public Schools to celebrate talented young visual artists in the Fairfax Region. Her scholarship was sponsored by FCPS but awarded to her from the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton.

“The amazing artwork made by Fairfax County Region middle and high school students can be a great inspiration, and the online exhibition is a unique opportunity to have full access to all gold key and silver key work in a way we have not in the past,” said Debra Balestreri Director of Visual Arts Education at the Workhouse Arts Center.

The Scholastic Arts Award show was open to students from all over the area, and there were many different entities that were the awardees. Others that took part in recognizing the students in addition to the Workhouse included the Fairfax Art League, League of Reston Artists, Blick Art Materials, and more.

On a video introduction, Dr. Scott Braband, the Superintendent for Fairfax County Public Schools, appreciated the talent and creativity of the artists. “I am in awe of the talent by our students,” he said. Susan Silva, a fine arts chair, noted the angle the judges take, addressing the abstract nature of some pictures. “They are looking at the student’s voice, what are they trying to say?” she said.

A majority of these abstracts were paintings and computer drawings of students, but another was a video commercial called “Chelsea's Masks,” by Chelsea Hu in the Film and Animation category. It showed a variety of masks made by Chelsea, and at the end it states "Get Yours Today at, and it was marketing her side gig too. "The Chelsea Mask is designed to be kid-friendly in pattern and wearability," and she came up with this idea after seeing children put up a fight to wear the masks..

Another gold key award winner was a colorful graphic painting of a teen possibly dealing with several identities or maybe a mental health crisis, by Sam Lesser, a senior at Oakton High School.

Although Lizzie's work, and others in the show seemed to be influenced from today's headlines. It is always the students choice to decide what they would like their work to talk about, said Balesteri. "It was most likely an assignment from her school or a body of work she is pursuing as a high school student in her district," Balestreri added, "we simply thought her work was well done and worthy of an award."

The Outstanding Educator Award, sponsored by Blick Art Materials, went to Teri Thomas, also of Chantilly High School.