JCJC student artists win top honors in state competition

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2012-04-11 11:22:22

ELLISVILLE – Four sophomore art students at Jones County Junior College earned top honors at the 2012 Mississippi Community/Junior College Art Instructor's Association(MC/JCAIA) State Art Competition recently. Ashley Burnet of Walnut Grove won first place in the 3D Design and sculpture category with the entry, “Figure” and she received an honorable mention for her “Fish” entry. The JCJC sophomore also managed to walk away with the top honor of “Best of Show” with a painting of her dog. She said she may have had a little divine help with this award. 

“My oil painting that won ‘Best in Show’ was inspired by my Dachshund, Bonnie,” said Ashley Burnet. “I started on the piece after God granted me a miracle. I've had Bonnie for four years and she went missing for two weeks about two months ago. I was devastated and lost all hope in finding her. I was at school when a lady called me and I dropped everything to go pick her up. I wonder if it is a coincidence that my dog painting won ‘Best in Show’.”

Burnet said she came to Jones because of the art department’s reputation and influence from her mother, a Jones alumna. 

“My experience at Jones has been fulfilling in more than just great programs,” said Burnet. “Fellow students and teachers are always supportive and friendships were built. Every art major at Jones has their own individual gift that we can feed off of and help our talents grow. I wish Jones was a four-year college so I didn't have to leave, but I plan to take what I've learned and continue my education at an art institution or university.”

With a career in illustration as her goal, Burnet offers this advice for aspiring artists and challenges them to compete. “This competition has inspired me to never give up on my art work. Who knows, my artwork could inspire future generations to do the same,” said Burnet.
Jones’ Ashley Jenkins of Richland garnered second place honors with her drawing, “Reclining Female.” This was the first time she entered the art competition and it has inspired and motivated her. 
“I have a lot more confidence now,” said Jenkins. “I want to do better and win more.” 
The aspiring artists’ goals include being an art teacher and transferring to USM. 
Earning “Honorable Mention” accolades were Jones students, Hunter Langley for his “Figure with a Bow and Arrow,” and Michelle Sessions’ graphic art entry, “Poster for Art Alliance.” Sessions said the state competition showed her that her work is up to par. “It also inspired me to branch outside of my artistic boundaries,” said the Little Rock native. “I’m dabbling in a few art forms now and I’m building a professional portfolio.”
JCJC has had students win in past years’ art competitions. However, JCJC art instructor Mark Brown said this year’s students have done exceptionally well. “This year was more special because a Jones student won ‘Best in Show’ which is an overall award,” said Brown. “Our students also placed in all of the categories, further validating our visual arts program.”
The Jones art instructor said he believes competition builds the students’ confidence in exhibiting their work and it challenges them to expand their skill set, which in turn makes them successful as students and future professional artists.  


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