SJV 2017

Sara Jane Venable Award, Lansing Art Gallery 2017

"Art Scholarship Alert (ASA) is a juried art exhibition and scholarship competition for 9th – 12th graders residing or attending school in Ingham, Clinton, Eaton, Ionia, Shiawassee, Barry, Livingston, Calhoun and Jackson counties. This program gives recognition and financial assistance to outstanding art students, encourages artistic growth, and provides young artists an opportunity to participate in a professional gallery setting. For more than 30 years, Lansing Art Gallery has proudly hosted Art Scholarship Alert and awarded $109,000 to young artists to help further their creative endeavors.
ASA applicants submit an online digital portfolio of original works of art. A jury of art professionals determine acceptance and awards based on the quality, consistency, and depth of work in the portfolio. One portfolio at each grade level receives an ASA Portfolio Award and will have multiple works displayed. All other accepted portfolios will have one piece exhibited.
In addition to the ASA portfolio competition, students at the senior level may apply for the Sara Jane Venable Scholarship (SJV), which is awarded to a student in his/her pursuit of higher education in the visual arts and used for tuition assistance." -


Sara Jane Venable Submissions include ten images, 5 concentrated into one general theme, and 5 showing variety of work from the past two years. The submission also includes a written page which answers the question: What does all this, these photos and the effort behind them- the art, mean to me.


When looking at high school art students and their development over their four years, the path that has led me to where I am now is very different than that of other students. Most students take the initiative inside the classroom, as I felt I had done throughout my first semester in my freshman year.

Intro to Photography was my first exposure to a high school art class. I absolutely hated it. I spent most of the class just barely making the assignments because I disliked the structure and very quickly lost interest in the subject. Into sophomore year, I decided against a higher level photography class and rather took an interest into Advanced levels of Digital Imaging and Graphic Design. Ironically enough, only after choosing against a photography class did I begin to create images that I was proud of.


My reason for creating has always been the same. Art, for me, is set apart from everything else humans have done by the power it has to invoke emotion into us. Those emotions can range from bliss, to fear, to sadness, and the list goes on and on. But what I began seeking to capture, and what I’ve tried so hard to reflect into my work, is the feeling of awe that comes from the world around us. And at first, the easiest place to feel that awesome wonder was in the night sky.

I firmly believe artists create better when they are the biggest fan of the subject they’re working with. To begin this experience I’ve had over the last three years, growing as a photographer, with nightscapes and star photography is very poetic. The emotional connection with that subject, before I shot a single photo, was already embedded into my mind so well that once I started shooting, I knew I was onto something bigger than long exposures in my backyard on school nights.


As more time progressed, I began reaching out to new ideas and techniques. By my junior year of highschool, a point where I had no art classes in my schedule, I defined myself as a “weekend warrior photographer.” Every weekend was a hike somewhere, a shoot at sunset, and as many of these small adventures I could cram into my year. And from these, I began to see real progress. So when I was fortunate enough to have a piece chosen last year for the Lansing Art Gallery as a Junior, I looked at my art more seriously and shifted everything else to make photography a central part of my life. Shortly after that, my decision to apply to Northern Michigan University’s Photography Program came rather easily.


Artists have two very distinct, very awesome abilities. The first one, as I mentioned above, is the ability to invoke emotion into others. The second, to inspire them. I’m fortunate enough to have access to countless people who inspire me to continue doing what I love, and I can only try my hardest to return that inspiration back to them through my images. That’s the motivation behind every image, to develop a career based on inspiring other people to find a new way to look at the awesomeness of the world we live in every day. Whether it involves working under companies, as a freelance artist, selling prints, or shooting for others; if I can reach people with an image, even if it’s just a ten second part of their day, and make them feel something, I’ve done what I set out to do. The Arts, for me, are the best, most rewarding dreams to chase.