Scholastic Art Winners Chloe Beaudreau and Andrea Erkal Share Their Stories

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courtesy of Andrea Erkal

"Escape of Ignorance" by sophomore Andrea Erkal, won a Gold Key from Scholastic Arts & Writing.

The Scholastic Writing and Art Competition is a very selective program that thousands of students ages 12-18 in the United States enter.

Chloe Beaudreau’s Mixed Media Piece (photo courtesy of Chloe Beaudreau)

While students go through a rigorous selection process, not just one, but two students from Carnegie have been awarded with gold keys in visual art- sophomores Chloe Beaudreau and Andrea Erkal.

CHLOE BEAUDREAU:

Chloe Beaudreau submitted 20 pieces with 19 being photographs and one being a mixed-media piece. The motivation behind her entering scholastic was clear.

“Well, I really like traveling and whenever I go on trips I take a lot of pictures. That kind of made me more interested in photography. As I took more pictures on trips I decided to take photography at Carnegie. So my parents bought me a really nice and kind of expensive camera for my birthday and since I had that nice camera, I started doing more photo shoots. I’d bring it with me around Houston wherever I went and I just fell in love with photography and wanting to take more photographs and try out different ideas,” Beaudreau said.

Beaudreau’s love for art started from a very young age and is continuing to develop as she works on even bigger projects.

“I’ve been doing art since I was really little. I started taking art and painting classes when I was young but I’m not really good at  painting and drawing so I kind of stopped doing that but in middle school. I took Art 1 and I kind of got into fashion and I made a dress. Now I kind of just like photography but I’m working on a dress at home right now. I’m probably not gonna send it anywhere until next year though,” Beaudreau said.

Beaudreau also talked about how educational inequality and technology reliance inspired her pieces for Scholastic.

“What inspires me is probably people and places for the most part but for my sculpture I made it in English class last year. It was not for scholastics. I talked about the inequality girls face around the world when it comes to education. For the photograph what I was trying to convey through that was that Gen Alpha, which is the youngest generation. The generation that’s in elementary school right now and their reliance on technology. They’re so addicted to technology. An example is my sister, she just got a phone this year and she’s in fourth grade and she just sits on her phone all day and her iPad and that’s a lot of kids nowadays, they don’t even go outside and play anymore,” Beaudreau said.

While making her piece, Beaudreau didn’t run into much trouble except when it came to expressing herself artistically.

“I think one challenge I faced was just finding the right idea and even coming up with creative ideas because in Scholastics you don’t really know what they’re looking for. The judging is really arbitrary and they choose all kinds of different photographs and pieces to win. They’re looking through thousands of photos so if you really want to win something your photo is going to have to stand out. It’s definitely a challenge, just having an ordinary life and having to come up with a super creative, artistic picture that evokes emotion in someone is hard,” Beaudreau said.

With the joy of winning gold keys for her pieces, she goes into depth about what else Scholastic Art and Writing has done for her and if she will continue making art.

“It’s provided me with more opportunities, receiving these awards has just given me opportunities to receive recognition and it also feels so good to do art because we do so much homework and math and science and I have creative energy and art is like a good way to channel that energy into something good.I’m definitely going to continue art as it is a good way for me to channel my creativity. Just like scholastics I’m applying to a few different summer programs. When I’m an adult, I’m not gonna like literally doing it everyday but I’m going to continue taking photographs.”

ANDREA ERKAL:

Erkal was enthusiastic to showcase her voice and thinking through this competition.

“I felt that I wanted to get my voice out and to be heard somewhere. With the sculpture that I did, it was made out of completely recycled materials, like 100%. I just wanted to try to raise awareness for the amount of paper and things that we recycle so like conservation,” Erkal said.

Similar to Beaudreau, Erkal also experienced a sort of art block when it came to expressing herself artistically in Scholastics.

“I think I had a hard time with being able to properly convey the message that I wanted to and also convey a message that everybody connects to and is not just charged with that one specific person. I think that goes for my sculpture only. The photograph that I took I didn’t really have many challenges,” Erkal said. 

Erkal submitted two pieces. One being a mixed media paper mache sculpture and the other being a photograph.

“The photograph was a picture of my sister sleeping on the couch and I just wanted to capture beauty that people may not see in everyday scenarios,” Erkal said.

As a gold key winner Erkal talked about how Scholastics has affected her life and if she’ll continue doing art.

“I think Scholastics taught me to think more creatively and more outside of the box. It definitely has taught me to try to put up a purpose or a meaning behind everything that I do. I think I will continue making art as the year goes on,” Erkal said.