Young Artist Wins National Award

When Kyra Lorden was younger and drawing pictures as a child in Marion, she did not give much thought to growing up to become a ‘real artist’ and making art her career path. But she enjoyed drawing and, encouraged by her artistic dad, she continued to create and eventually took art lessons. Now a senior at Old Rochester Regional High School, Lorden has truly become a real artist and is enjoying the recognition that her talent deserves.

Lorden recently entered two of her works of art into the regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest, thinking that perhaps one of them might be awarded some kind of prize. Little did she know that her watercolor and micron pen mixed media piece titled “The Closet” would head to Carnegie Hall to be displayed in an exhibition of the nation’s best student artwork after winning the silver award in the national contest.

The inspiration for the piece was literally the closet of the school art room, with all its paints, papers, easels, and supplies – all the things that artists use to transform their visions into masterpieces and inner worlds into a window for the onlooker to see into.

“I was in there one day,” said Lorden, thinking about the moment she decided the art room closet would make a nice subject. “I looked around and thought, ‘wow, that would just be really horrible and fun and time consuming.” A really fun challenge, she thought to herself. “So I sat in there and started drawing … and it ended up taking hours and hours.”

She is glad she did it, though. It was, she said, definitely worth it.

Lorden’s visual arts teacher at ORR, Jo Mogilnicki, describes Lorden as thoughtful, kind, and reflective in that she believes in her voice and the ability to make a positive difference.

“Her art and writing speaks to creating meaningful, accessible responses that are powerful and provocative,” said Mogilnicki. She thinks Lorden really captured the mood and the essence of the art room closet. “…In its order and chaos,” she said, listing the different supplies. “[The Closet] displays a joy in what can be found in the art room supply closet, and the potential that lays waiting for someone with her interests in making art with these materials stored there.”

Both The Closet and another submitted drawing won gold keys in the regional contest, making both pieces eligible for the national contest where The Closet won the silver. Two of Lorden’s written submissions won silver keys in the regional contest.

Lorden is currently a leading member of the Honors Portfolio Art Class and the president of the ORRHS Art Club. She applied to the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and learned of her acceptance into the program back in December. She is a self-motivated individual whose work reflects a rigorous dedication to high expectations and standards, says her proud art teacher.

“It has been an honor to have a student such as Kyra…. She embodies the idea of a student of life … she is curious, she acts on her curiosity, she is generous and … shares her knowledge and understanding of her community,” said Mogilnicki. “…And no doubt will continue to create beautiful, provocative works of art.”

By Jean Perry


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