Rhinos, horses and trees. Faces, photos and leaves. "Oh my," one person said Friday as she looked at the menagerie of visual art spread throughout the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown library.
"It is all so good," another person added.
Ninety students entered works in the 3rd annual Washington County High School Student Art Show hosted by USMH.
Judges evaluated the works and awarded first, second, and third in each of five categories. They also awarded a best in show.
"I have been smiling a lot," said C.J. White, whose ceramic titled "Rhino" won first place in the ceramic category.
C.J., a 17-year-old senior at South Hagerstown High School, said he was inspired by a class assignment to make a vessel and by an image of a rhino he saw in a book.
Flipping through the pages, he said he noticed that the rhino had the most-notable features of all animals pictured, and using stoneware clay, he said to crafted the image into mask.
For C.J., it took three weeks to create his mask, but for Carolyn Snyder, an 18-year-old senior at Boonsboro High School, her winning photograph happened in a moment.
Snyder said she had been working on a project to photograph her self portrait every day for 365 days.
On day 317, she had a wave of inspiration, she said.
She put a small tree and a mound of earth on her shoulder, and, using her Nikon D60, a tripod and a remote, she photographed what would become "Back to My Roots," a digital piece that won first place at the show in the photography category.
"I was thinking about nature and about how a person and nature connect," she said.
Todd Geiman, her art teacher at Boonsboro High, said that Snyder's work was of the caliber that could "go somewhere."
"She is very sensitive to the world around her, very aesthetically aware," he said. "She is a natural artist, constantly involved with art, not just for assignments, but she creates on her own."
Art is more than just a passion for many of the students.
Like Andrew Perini, who won best in show for his piece, listed Friday as "untitled." Perini said he plans to become an art teacher.
Perini's work in pen and ink depicted a creation that bore parts of a horse, bird, tree and the earth.
"I always put trees in my work," he said, calling trees his "signature," of sorts.
When his mother, Shelley Turner, saw his work, she said, "It's just so Andrew."
Watching her son, a junior at North Hagerstown High School, take the top honor at the show brought Turner a sense of pride, she said.
Art show winners
Winners at the 2011 show were:
First: "Rhino" by C.J. White, grade 12, South Hagerstown
Second: "Burger" by Maggie Sullivan, grade 9, Barbara Ingram School for the Arts
Third: "Hat" by Eshter Chin, grade 11, Barbara Ingram
First: "Baltimore Black and White" by Stephen Sheredy, grade 12, Barbara Ingram
Second: "Student Anxiety" by Caitlin McPherson, grade 11, Barbara Ingram
Third: "Stairway" Nahja Collins, grade 10, Barbara Ingram
First: "Transition" by Erin Mettile, grade 10, Barbara Ingram
Second: untitled, by Daniela Rossell, grade 11, North Hagerstown
Third: "Deliver Us" by Rachael Birky, grade 12, Boonsboro
First: "Back to my Roots" by Carolyn Snyder, grade 12, Boonsboro
Second: "Reflecting through you" by Karah Knight, grade 11, Smithsburg
Third: "Last one standing" by Ty Fitchet, grade 10, Barbara Ingram
First: "Soliloquy" by Emily Leslie, grade 12, Saint James School
Second: "Hand" by Chris Lee, grade 12, Saint James
Best in Show
Untitled by Andrew Perini, grade 11, North Hagerstown