News Stories


Gold and Silver Keys! Eight Avon Old Farms Students Awarded by Scholastic Arts


Avon Old Farms Student Creativity Awarded by Scholastic Art & Writing

This winter, eight of Avon Old Farms School’s most talented artists were recognized for 13 award-winning art submissions at the CT Scholastic Art Awards, the most competitive exhibit/competition for the visual arts in Connecticut. Their work was included in the 2018 Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition at the Silpe Gallery, at the Hartford Art School. 

“I am so very proud of all of our artists and am excited to see their work on display at this inspiring student art exhibit,” commented Visual Arts Chairperson Cristina Pinton. “The Art Department staff is proud to work at a school where the faculty can teach to their passions and adjust how we approach art to complement our students’ talents. At Avon, we are able to offer our students opportunities to be creative young men and to see their world differently. I think that shows in how many works of art were recognized as exceptional by this competition.”

The 2018 Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition features select work from 150 participating Connecticut schools in grades seven through 12. Selected from approximately 2,500 total art entries, 683 works were accepted for exhibit at the University of Hartford. From that accepted number, there were 259 Gold Key awards, 197 Silver Keys, and 225 Honorable Mention awards.

“When we attended the exhibit on January 28th, it was surprising how few young men were exhibited, versus the majority of young women,” commented Pinton. “This is only one more measure of the courage and spirit of our boys searching for creativity, to grow beyond their bounds or expected limitations, and to tap into a more emotional, fragile part of their identity all the while developing stronger, more powerful inner voices.”

Following the close of the Connecticut Regional Exhibit, the select Gold Key award winners from each national region will have their artworks reviewed by a blue-ribbon panel of judges at the National level in March. The National Jury will select Gold Medal National Winners and call in their artwork to be exhibited in New York City in June.


Luc Anderson '18 
Silver Key, photo
Robert Aughtry '19
Silver Key, drawing
Burapol Bhakdibhumi '18 
Silver Key, photo
Silver Key, photo
CJ Calcinari '19  
Honorable Mention, quilt
Graham Deckers '20
Silver Key, clay vase
Gold Key, sculpture
Silver Key, painting
Matthew Jensen '19 
Silver Key, photo
Gold Key, portrait
Peiqi ‘Tony’ Liu '19
Honorable Mention, drawing
Pengyu Si '19
Honorable Mention, drawing
Gold Key, painting
Gold Key, painting


In addition to the Scholastic Art Awards, eight Hartford County students had work on display at the National Arts Program exhibit held at Capitol Community College in Hartford on Saturday, Jan. 27. Artists included: Sean Desjardin '21, Matthew Jensen '19, CJ Calcinari '19, Sam Krupnikoff '19, TJ Shaw '18, Graham Deckers '20, Max Gart '20, and Cam Andrews '19. Calcinari won first place for teens and Deckers won the Art Education Award.

From the Artists

Pengu Si "S.P." '19 

"In addition to regular sketching and toning, decision making was crucial in each painting I’ve completed. Self Portrait in Red, for instance, was originally designed to focus on the head and have a neutral umber background to support it, but the color and brushstroke combinations just did not work. I changed the composition, adding a bright, rich red background, adjusting the tone of the face, and partially covering the face with interesting strokes.

This aspect of decision making also applies to Fusion No. 3: not only did I change the color of the teapots, but I also added the folding screen background—inspired by a painting I had seen—strengthened the contrast and experimented with bold strokes, all of which were decisions made along the way.

As my impatience grew and the time remaining in the course waned, I started to make bad decisions and bad things started to happen. The cycle kept going until I felt like I was on the edge of insanity and some of my seemingly insane decisions started to work. After all the exhaustion, when I saw my paintings in the Ordway Art Gallery and learned that two of them won Scholastic Gold Key awards, I could not hold back my tears or smile.

I believe arts is simply a synonym for beauty— the beauty of nature and of the human society. I do not intentionally force an idea into an artwork just for others to decipher or interpret; I like to let my instinct and intuition lead the way and see what happens. Although I do not plan a theme for my works, they all reflect my experience and personality in one way or another."Pengyu Si “SP”, Class of 2019

Graham Deckers '20

"Graham Deckers '20 has pushed himself hard to grow with every piece he creates. His commitment to excellence is unparalleled in all my years of teaching here, and he is never afraid of tackling a new medium, technique, or perspective. His more recent designs are whimsical, meaningful, and well-executed, and it's clear he is setting himself down with a kind of narrative, of which I strongly encourage. His enthusiasm and passion remain one of my most favorite things I've experienced as a teacher, and I hope I can continue to augment his education in a way that sufficiently broadens his mind and ideation." - Kate McSpadden, Visual Arts Teacher


Matt Jensen'19

"The compelling imagery of junior Matt Jensen's work consistently combines a  technical acuity with original thinking. Intellectual curiosity and innovative thought are the hallmarks of his remarkable portfolio." - Greg Calibey, Art Teacher