Scholastic Art Awards

MNPS Students Win 131 Honors at Middle Tennessee Scholastic Art Awards
Posted on 01/23/2023
painting entitled "Silver Comb" showing a Black girl combing her hair

Two MNPS art students are up for a national honor this year after their work was nominated in the American Visions category of the 2023 Middle Tennessee Scholastic Art Awards. Sheala Smartt

Sheala Smartt of Nashville School of the Arts and Ella Torode of Hillsboro High School are among the five regional nominees for the American Visions Award in the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

And that’s not all: More than 70 MNPS students have won a record-setting 131 honors in this year’s Middle Tennessee Scholastic Art Awards. They will be recognized at two receptions in the Frist Learning Center at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens on Saturday, February 4, the first day of a three-week showing of many of the students’ pieces, either physically or digitally, in the same building through February 26. 

“Congratulations to Ella, Sheala, and all the MNPS students from our middle and high schools who are being honored!” said Alison Ross, coordinator of visual arts for MNPS. “Their beautiful and thought-provoking work is a glorious testament not only to their talent and creativity but also to the skill and passion of our visual arts teachers at schools throughout the district. We also appreciate the great team at Cheekwood for showcasing our students’ work.”

Ella Torode

Students were honored for each outstanding piece with a Gold Key, a Silver Key, or an honorable mention. Some received multiple awards for their submissions. Nominees for the American Visions Award “must have a Gold Key work with an original, authentic voice or vision,” according to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards website.

The Art 

Sheala Smartt’s American Visions-nominated piece is titled “Silver Comb.” Along with her Gold Key for that work, Sheala, who is a senior at Nashville School of the Arts, also won four other Gold Keys, five Silver Keys and five honorable mentions.

Ella Torode’s piece “Moth Bodice” won a Gold Key and was nominated for the American Visions Award. Ella, a senior at Hillsboro, also won two honorable mentions.

Painting of a Black girl using a large silver comb on her hair






Ella Torode's Moth bodice

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