Utah teens compete to produce art on a deadline

SALT LAKE CITY -- Dozens of artists from eight different high schools in the Granite School District competed in the 'art night Olympics' earlier this week.

Students had four hours to complete works of art to earn awards and create memories.

The competition provides students the opportunity to work under a tight deadline and with professional artists, who also judged the competition.

More than 80 students competed in 11 different categories, including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and mixed-media.

“I think they’re really excited for the most part,” said Jeremy Peterson, a teacher at Olympus High School. “I think they really get, are nervous about competing, but once they sit down and see that they’re working with their peers and they’re working with people that are learning just like them, they tend to relax a little bit.”

The competition was put on by the Granite Foundation in past years, but when they decided not to do it this year, the art teachers decided to plan it themselves because they say it is a valuable teaching tool.

“It helps me to learn a lot because I’m painting and judges are just walking around, they’re teaching us,” said Alwsa Nares, a senior in high school.

She said she has ambitions of a professional career in art.

“I really want to sell my artwork when I grow up, and I want it to be my only way of income,” she said.

Peterson said the competition serves several important purposes.

“I think it helps them to focus on their skills a little bit more, helps them to take it a little bit more serious, as opposed to a regular assignment that we give them, but it also gives them a chance to be recognized and to accomplish something," he said.

Awards were given for first through third place in 11 categories. Alexa Chandler of Taylorsville High School won best of show in 3D and Rachael Bos from Skyline High School won best of show in 2D.