North Atlanta Students Participate In Art Throwdown


Football and soccer scrimmages are common occurrences for athletes in high school. It is a familiar feeling for them to be on a field, testing their talent among their peers. But, for artists, there wasn’t an equal feat they could compete in to show their skills, until recently. 

10 years ago, John Brandhorst, a teacher at Grady High School and husband of former North Atlanta art teacher Natalie Brandhorst, decided to fix the problem by creating a competition where students from schools all around Georgia are given art prompts with time limits and incentives of winning. Primarily focused at the Dogwood Art Festival, teachers partner with the Georgia Art Educators Association to sponsor their students as they create.

This year, Columbus State University has recognized the novelty of this event and have called upon all Georgia schools to come compete on campus. This competition is much less focused on inner cities, but the state as a whole. Students from 6 selected schools around the state took a paid charter bus on November 8 up to the campus for this opportunity. “We have hand selected each representative on that bus,” said art teacher Allison Shepard.

North Atlanta was selected (and won first place) as one of these special schools, as well as two other Atlanta Public Schools schools: Grady High School and Douglass High School. The artists from these schools specialized in different art forms for their specified categories such as portraiture, sculpting, and welding. After being taught in seminars by art professors about the way they should create their works, they were given the materials they needed and a time limit on the physical creation part. “I’m looking forward to trying a different style than my own.” said competitor Cameron White. 

North Atlanta sent 12 students and two alternates, who diligently attended practice sessions with the art teachers Rachael Sturgess and Allison Shepard that resulted in their ultimate victory. Their ages range from freshmen to seniors and they have a variety of skills to bring for each category. Soon, when CSU finishes their article that will be in a number of art publications, their hard work will pay off.

With success, there is potential for a presentation of this competition at a state and potentially national convention next year. This could even be implemented on a college level (all with roots in the very city we live in.)