Local students in grades 6-12 were invited to participate in a new, annual art  competition, Young at Art! Regional Youth Art Contest.  In Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego, and Delaware Counties, students learned about art inspired by an annual theme, this year’s theme being community.  They then designed their own works.  A panel of artists served as judges for the contest and selected artworks to comprise an exhibition, in addition to student recipients of special awards.

The variety of local art students is reflected in the colorful assortment of works  featured here, with the community theme thoughtfully represented throughout.  Award winning works include Makenzie Sayers’ painting, “Our Community,” which illustrates our community’s experience of the pandemic, each family living separately, with families able to see each other from afar.  Sara Hendley’s digital painting, “Community at Home,” tells the healing story of artmaking during the pandemic, which helped students to form relationships online while at home.  What powerful memories so beautifully expressed by young artists who, like us, strove to preserve a sense of community during an historic time.

Young at Art! Inspired by Community presents a particular moment of shared experience.  In striving to represent community through color, shape, and form, regional youth worked toward a common goal.  These shared experiences form the basis of community.  We celebrate the students for further strengthening our community by sharing their artworks with us.

Sponsored in part by Bank of Cooperstown, a unit of Wayne Bank, Ms. Susan Glaser and Mr. Roy Glaser, NYCM Insurance, and Stewart’s Holiday Match.

How to Participate

Young at Art! Regional Youth Contest invites all students in grades 6 – 12 in Delaware, Herkimer, and Otsego Counties to participate, as well as 6-12 grade students in the Utica Central School District and members of the Oneida Indian Nation.  The theme for the 2021 – 2022 will be memory.  A variety of media types will be accepted, including drawing, painting, photography, digital art, 2D mixed media, and 3D art.  Students, parents, and teachers should feel encouraged to contact Michelle Bosma, Manager of Youth Programs, at m.bosma@fenimorart.org or at (607) 547-1414 with inquiries.  Invitations will be sent to regional schools in November 2021.

Our Community
Makenzie Sayers, grade 12
Mount Markham CSD
Grand Prize Winner

Our Community was created in May.  It was a time in New York when few left their homes and the positive cases seemed to be getting closer to home.  The shelf with jars illustrates the hoarding of non-perishable food items.  The jars themselves represent the feeling of being trapped and lonely in isolation.  Each jar tells a different story.”

Community at Home
Sara Hendley, grade 10
Oneonta CSD
Best Representation of the Theme

With quarantine, we have had to find new ways to stay in touch and have a sense of community.  I have found myself mostly using the internet to fill in the gap left by not being able to see people in person.  I have stayed in touch with the art community by drawing and posting my art online. I have also found comfort in my pets.  A few months before Covid started, I took in my friend’s guinea pigs.  I have found community at home, thus this piece being titled Community at Home.

What’s on my Mind
Taylor Bushardt, grade 11
Central Valley CSD
Outstanding Work

I wanted to make something that related to me and many other people no matter the age.  I chose overthinking/anxiety.  I tend to overthink a lot and it is mostly about not being able to meet people’s expectations of me.  I chose the background as my brain seems to be dark and fog-like because of the things being overthought.



Growth and Change
Amber Wycoff, grade 11
Schenevus CSD
Senior Drawing First Place

The tree represents our community.  The broken glass and extending branches show how communities grow and change.  The birds and bushes show further expansion.

Brianna Brown, grade 11
Little Falls CSD
Senior Drawing Second Place

Talie Hanson, grade 10
Cooperstown CSD
Senior Painting First Place

In this painting there are several types of bees depicted: worker bee, nurse bee, drone, queen bee, and larvae.  The different types represent the diversity in a community.  In my opinion, community is defined by collaboration and teamwork.  Bees are a good representation of this theme because they all do their part to keep their hive running.


Claire Jensen, grade 10
Cooperstown CSD
Senior Painting Second Place

This abstract acrylic painting contains the many faces that we see in every community.  The colors behind each face are unique, but the lines between faces connect.  This reflects how every successful community needs people to be able to have their own opinion and be diverse, but they can still connect and work together.

Emma Dooley, grade 11
Little Falls CSD
Senior Photography First Place

The Community of Family
John Nguyen, grade 11
Proctor High School, Utica CSD
Senior Photography Second Place

“Using the theme of community and a camera as a means of capturing the multitudes of human culture, I wanted to capture specifically Asian American tradition. It was slightly difficult to figure out what I wanted to exemplify, but Lunar New Year popped into mind. Remembering the days of traditional Asian foods from various cultures, to receiving red envelopes, I wanted to illustrate the joy, connection, and family-like emotion of the holiday to the audience. With influences from my own experiences and our Asian American communities in Central New York, The Community of Family gives the viewer an insight into one of the most anticipated holidays for Asian Americans, evoking interest and appreciation for some of the cultures around them.

Community Threaded Together, Intertwined Forever
Hannah Pope, grade 11
Morris CSD
Senior Mixed Media First Place

“My project represents community as the thread that is intertwined through all, keeping it all together. A community stands together and works just like the thread featured here.”

Problem Solver
Emmi Baker, grade 11
Herkimer CSD
Senior Mixed Media Second Place

“The painting I created represents me as a person. Last year in MAGIC class we were asked the question, “Who are you?” The biggest strength I have is problem solver. I turned it into a painting with 3D puzzle pieces that represent some aspect of problem solving.”

Barry Ellis III, grade 11
Cherry Valley–Springfield CSD
Senior 3D First Place

“Throughout my work I keep a clear focus on the use of dissimilar materials to portray a united composition. The voice within my art is created through tension and unification. Diverse members comprising a whole: that is the essence of community.”

A Blue City
Samantha Tompkins, grade 9
Worcester CSD
Senior 3D Second Place

“When I saw the finished product, I was amazed and full of pride. Maybe I could use my artwork for snacks on the dinner table, surrounded by family. I could give it to one of my friends or someone in my family to make their day a little better and show them how much I love them. This plate could bring together and strengthen relationships between people.”

The Meelo Jumble
Seton Davis Fralick, grade 6
Cherry Valley–Springfield CSD
Junior Drawing First Place

“I made this by drawing. I used markers, a pencil, and a sharpie marker. I am proudest of the blend of colors in the artwork. While creating the artwork, I learned that art requires patience. Next time, I will make a connection to show that everything has its own beliefs.”

Save the World
Noah Pedrick, grade 6
Charlotte Valley CSD
Junior Drawing Second Place

“My work is about saving the world. The world is getting polluted every minute. I want to save the earth rather than drink polluted water and eat polluted food.”

Sah Mu Mea Htoo, grade 8
Donovan Middle School, Utica CSD
Junior Painting First Place

Liana Marcano, grade 8
Donovan Middle School, Utica CSD
Junior Painting Second Place

Main Street
Jonah Baldo, grade 7
Morris CSD
Junior Photography First Place

“This photograph I took in my town of Morris. This is where I live. I feel it represents living in a small town in New York State.”

Mixed Together
Shiloh Jones, grade 7
Morris CSD
Junior Photography Second Place

Still Life
Matthew Verri, grade 8
Little Falls CSD
Junior Mixed Media First Place

Family and Friends
Rebecca Redmond, grade 6
Schenevus CSD
Junior Mixed Media Second Place

“Community means standing together and being kind. I chose hands holding on to each other to resemble friends.”

Chris Ubner, grade 12
Cooperstown CSD
Honorable Mention

“This is a collage of a smaller baseball gloves that together make one large baseball glove. The smaller gloves come together like parts of the baseball community.”

Black Lives Matter
Tanner Jennings, grade 10
Oneonta CSD
Honorable Mention

“My artwork takes a critical view of the discrimination that the Black community has endured. I wish to express the Black culture and shine a positive light on the group, from the unfortunate circumstances with the murder of George Floyd and systemic oppression of Black people in the U.S.”

Bird’s Way Home
Collin Ross, grade 9
Cherry Valley–Springfield CSD
Honorable Mention

“My art piece is a bird flying home to its house in the vast night. I tried to show the emotion of relief because the bird is getting home from a long day of flying.”

Farmers’ Market
Ellie Dykstra, grade 10
Cooperstown CSD
Honorable Mention

“This is an acrylic painting of the Farmers’ Market in Cooperstown. I chose to paint this location because it shows one aspect of our community and the interests we share. It is a center for neighboring farmers and artisans to share their work with the community.”

Orbs of Memories
Morris CSD
By Baylie Boglioli, Emily Lincoln, Kate Morano, Miesha Neer, Victoria Ranc, and Sierra Ratliff
Honorable Mention

“Coming from a small town where everybody knows everybody, we all have had experiences where our community raised us up when we were feeling down. Our project displays memory orbs, made from pictures we took in class and felt represented the best parts of our community and ourselves.”

In Man’s Hands
Yana King, grade 9
Morris CSD
Honorable Mention

“I thought I should show the positive and negative aspects of community. We can picture a perfect, thriving town, but communities are not perfect. There are always complications and challenges, people can cause problems by polluting and committing crimes. Nobody is perfect, no community is perfect, but we can at least try!”


Three talented, local artists served as judges for the contest, selecting works to comprise the exhibition and student recipients of special awards.

Andrea House


Andrea House finds inspiration in the lush beauty of the local landscapes.  Using oil paints on wood panels with photographs, memory, and process as guides, she recreates encounters with nature.  The paintings are built up slowly in layers and become progressively more detailed.  Attention to line, color, and light keep the pictures rooted in representational imagery, while active brushwork and emphasis on abstract patterns invite the eye to linger and the mind to wander.

Samuel Ross


Sam Ross’ large, densely colored photographs clearly illuminate his passion for nature.  Through his lens, he captures the tangible beauty of Cooperstown in his bucolic scenes. Even more intriguing is his ability to depict elusive qualities such as silence, temperature, and tranquility.

Ross said he finds beauty and peace in the world through photography. ‘The rolling land and mother nature’s flow of all things natural lead me home . . .  home in my soul as all that has passed and now follows . . .’”

Christina Hunt Wood


Christina Hunt Wood is a multimedia artist exploring her rural, predominantly white community’s relationship with race and everyday expressions of power. For Wood, who is Black, items like discarded beverage cans found on the backroads of her community act as evidence of a cultural phenomenon rooted in power over place and are a metaphor for racialized aggression. The remnants are photographed and archived, or collected, deconstructed, and translated into new forms. By offering a poetic presentation, Wood narrows the space between what is culturally familiar and deeply problematic.

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