The Miller Art Museum in downtown Sturgeon Bay announced at a free public reception held Monday evening April 17, the award winners for the 49th Annual Salon of Door County High School Art, on display now through Saturday, May 27, 2023. The multi-media exhibition features original artwork by 116 students in grades 9 – 12 from the 2022-23 academic year who attend school at one of the Peninsula’s five high schools: Gibraltar, Sevastopol, Southern Door, Sturgeon Bay, and Washington Island.

Certificates of Participation were presented to all student artists by their respective art teachers. Students receiving an Award of Excellence or Honorable Mention were announced and presented by Museum Curator Helen del Guidice during the reception. Awards of Excellence, a $100 cash prize, were presented to: Lilly Cihlar (Sturgeon Bay), Victoria Fiscus (Sevastopol), Joseph Lux (Washington Island), Emily Purdy (Southern Door), and Gwendolyn Sohns (Gibraltar).

Six $50 Honorable Mention awards were presented to Dasia Daubner (Gibraltar), Rayna Hoffman (Sturgeon Bay), Anna Ibarra-Gallardo (Sevastopol), Dezaray LeRoy (Southern Door), and Rita Valentincic (Washington Island).

2023 SoSHA Awards

Image Credit: 49th Annual Salon of Door County High School Art award winners pictured from left to right: Rayna Hoffman (Honorable Mention, Sturgeon Bay), Victoria Fiscus (Award of Excellence, Sevastopol), Anna Ibarra-Gallardo (Honorable Mention, Sevastopol), Joseph Lux (Award of Excellence, Washington Island), Gwendolyn Sohns (Award of Excellence, Gibraltar), Emily Purdy (Award of Excellence, Southern Door), and Dezaray LeRoy (Honorable Mention, Southern Door).

In addition to cash prizes, the museum, through a generous financial gift from the Cramer Family Fund in memory of long-time art supporter Tricia Cramer, provided awardees certificates for art supplies from the Artists Guild in Sturgeon Bay and instruction to further their individual artistic endeavors through workshops at the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek.

Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead had the honor of presenting Sevastopol High School sophomore Amolia Jefferson with the Mr. Rericha Legacy Award, a $100 cash prize, for her work titled “Hot Buttered Toast.” Mr. Rericha was a longtime art teacher and theater director at Sevastopol who had a significant impact on the lives of those he taught and mentored; he passed away in September 2022 and an anonymous financial gift made the establishment of the award possible.

2023 SoSHA Awards 2

Image credit: Miller Art Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead congratulates Amolia Jefferson (Sevastopol) as she receives the inaugural Mr. Rericha Legacy Award.

“I am not alone in saying that he was one of the best,” says Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead, executive director. “He was an incredible artist in his own right, with a quirky sense of humor, and a mentor and friend to all the students whose lives he deeply touched, including mine. It was an exceptional honor to select and present Molly with this award; her work embodies the characteristics, most prominently a hint of whimsy, that Jim so loved. I hope this award provides motivation for the chosen student to continue pursuing art, just as Mr. Rericha always pushed his students to do¬¬.”

In addition to the student awards, the museum also presented monetary awards to each high school art department, made possible through gifts from the Cramer Family Fund and DCAL. DCAL was a longstanding coalition of artists and art lovers who were committed to promoting the creative arts in Door County and supporting each other through mentoring, exhibitions, workshops, and fellowship. Upon the dissolution of that organization in 2016, the museum was gifted of a portion of these funds specifically so that it could serve as a conduit for the support of students through the exhibit.

The awards, unless otherwise stated, are given as recognition for achievements in art class, and have been made possible by the following exhibition sponsors: Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, Door County Medical Center, and Hermke & Elke Timm with additional financial support provided by Blue Moon Framery, John and Katherine Campbell, Dennis and Bonnie Connolly, Chris Cramer, the Jacksonport Women’s Club, Barb and Mike Madden, and Ruth Scholz with in-kind and grant support from Third Avenue PlayWorks, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The 49th Annual Salon of Door County High School Art will be on view at the Miller Art Museum through Saturday, May 27, 2023.


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