Through An Artist's Eyes: Gaston County Schools Annual Art Show 2021

Each year, Gaston County Schools and the Gaston County Museum team up to provide an annual juried art show titled Through An Artist's Eyes. This exhibit gives every art student in the County an opportunity to showcase their creative minds. Students submit artwork based on twelve different categories: Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Comic Art, Ceramics, Digital Art, Color Drawing, Mixed Media, Fiber Arts, Crafts, and Black & White Drawing. The artwork is judged and the winners are given first, second, third, and honorable mention awards. In addition, a Best of Show award and a Director's Choice award is given to one middle and one high school student, along with one James C. Biggers Award which is given to one high school student who's work shows promise and excellence. This show brings together the immense talent and creativity of our Gaston County students. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this year the Through and Artist's Eyes show was entirely virtual with judges viewing photos of all submissions.  Please enjoy exploring our winning students through the tiles below!

2021 High School Award Winners


1st Place Winner and Best of Show



Molly Matthews

Grade 12- Stuart Cramer High School

2nd Place Winner

Digital Art

Shayla Philpot

Grade 9- Highland Tech


3rd Place Winner

Sun and Moon

Color Drawing

Allison Fogg

Grade 9- Hunter Huss High School

Honorable Mention

Black Lives Matter

Digital Art

Talya Hunn

Grade 12- Hunter Huss High School


Director's Choice

Basketball Basquiat


Drake Lytton

Grade 10- Cherryville High School

The James C. Biggers Award



Mixed Media

Maria Casanova

Grade 11- North Gaston High School


The James C. Biggers Award is in honor of Mr. James ("Jim") C. Biggers, who passed away in March of 2019. Mr. Biggers was beloved by both his family and friends, and he was a board member here at the Gaston County Museum. Mr. Biggers was a well-known artist, both within this community and beyond. His murals can be seen across the state, including his piece titled “North Carolina Belongs to the Children”, which can be seen at the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh. Mr. Biggers had a lifelong passion for teaching, and taught art in Gaston County for many years. He is missed by all that knew him, and the Gaston County Musuem would like to honor Mr. Biggers and his teaching legacy with this award. Mr. Biggers inspired many students in the classroom, and this award seeks to honor the promise and excellence that he would often encourage in his students.

High School

Click "Read More"  next to each school to see all submissions!

2021 Middle School Award Winners


1st Place and Best of Show

In My Dreams

Color Drawing

Camila Bonilla

Grade 7- Southwest Middle School

2nd Place Winner


Black and White Drawing

Janie Neagle

Grade 8- Belmont Middle School


3rd Place Winner

Gotokuji Temple


Gianna Calantropio

Grade 8- Cramerton Middle School

Honorable Mention

My Favorite Breakfast


Tabitha Aylsworth

Grade 8- Cramerton Middle School


Director's Choice

Starry Starry Night


Kaylee Rojas

Grade 7- Grier Middle School

Middle School

Click "Read More" next to each school to see all of the submissions!

Elementary School

Click Below to see all Elementary School Submissions!

About Our Judges

Jurors selected by the Gaston County Museum judge each piece anonymously on creativity, technical skills, and originality. Gaston County Museum always seeks to find judges each year with varying backgrounds in art along with no direct ties to any one school so as to ensure fair judging. Judging will follow a scoring rubric similar to the Scholastic Art Competition. We would like to thank this year's judges on dedicating their time and expertise to the 2021 Annual School Art Show!

Autumn Payne

 Autumn Payne is a young artist located in the rolling hills of Charlotte, North Carolina. You can find her work circling the mediums of painting, printmaking, sculpting but often explore more crafts throughout her practice. Throughout all chapters of her work, you will see a consistent theme of the exploration of the human experience, through the vivid color palettes, rhythms, patterns, and the repetitive symbol of the self. Autumn is inspired by honest and raw reflective notes found in her personal existence. Her goal is to gather and document the various moments to encourage the viewer they are not alone.

 Gloria Brinkman

"My artistic career includes 35 years as a visual arts educator with 33 years teaching high school art in public, private and parochial schools and 2.5 years on the post-secondary level. I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1976 and Master of Arts in Art Education in 2000. I earned the honor of National Board Certification in 1999 and 2009.

I moved to North Carolina in 2005 from Cincinnati, Ohio where I taught high school visual art in parochial and private schools for 21 years. My relocation to North Carolina was motivated by a desire to teach in the public-school system. I worked for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for twelve years, retiring in 2017.

During my professional career, I was selected for many leadership roles within local, state, and national educational initiatives including the Ohio Art Education Association, the National Art Education Association, the NC Art Education Association, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, the National Magnet Schools Association, the NC Department of Public Instruction, the NC Governor’s Teacher Network, Charlotte Teachers Institute, and the Yale National Initiative.

In these roles, I learned valuable skills in writing for publication, speaking, presenting, facilitating workshops and residencies, working with museums and community partners, and serving as chair of the speakers committee for a statewide arts education convention.

Shortly after my retirement I was delighted to become a member of the Gaston County Art Guild. Membership in the GCAG has provided me with friendships, inspirations, and motivations that have been instrumental in my return to production of my own creative work. I remain committed to the belief that art education is foundational to our children’s learning in our schools and that a vibrant arts culture is crucial to quality of life in our community.

I reside in Mount Holly with my husband Vincent. We have 6 grown children living in 6 different states."

 Emily Andress

Emily T Andress graduated from William Woods University in 1979 with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art with concentrations in printmaking and painting. Early on in her career, Emily chose the path of printmaking and developed a style recognizable as her own. Utilizing plenty of negative space, vivid color, and black line, the work proved to be popular in the US and abroad provided a good living for 25 years.

Feeling uninspired by a style that had changed very little since the mid ‘80’s, Emily took a hiatus from printmaking and worked towards finding her style in oil painting. Drawn to the innovations in art that happened in turn of the century Paris, Emily traveled there to become inspired by the voices from another time. In particular, the uniqueness of Modigliani and the color use of the fauvists and German expressionists proved to be the inspiration to find that new identifying style. Recently she has been working with master painters to bring deeper meaning to her work. By including her line work from her printmaking days into her paintings, Emily’s style is, once again, instantly recognizable as her own.

Emily’s work has been shown nationally and internationally in group and solo shows.



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