Belpre senior wins statewide art award

BELPRE – A Belpre High School senior is celebrating having one of her art pieces on display in Columbus after it won the 2014 Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Competition earlier this month.

Ashley Carter said she was surprised to learn she is one of 300 students throughout the state to have their artwork chosen from more than 12,000 submissions.

“I was elated to hear that I won,” she said. “I was very surprised and proud, but I think my mom was happier than I was.”

This is the first win for Carter, who has been part of the statewide competition all four years of her high school career.

Carter’s winning piece is known as “Sunny Day with Lady in Red” and will be on exhibit in the James A Rhodes State Office Tower from April 13 through May 15.

“It is really exciting to know my piece was chosen as one of the 300 best in Ohio,” she said. “Going up against pretty much everyone in the state, it just surprises me my work was picked.”

Carter was one of 12 students of BHS art teacher Jeff Tharp to have had pieces in this year’s competition.

“Ashley is very fortunate,” said Tharp. “The state competition is incredible, as I have said in the past, it’s like winning the lottery and I am extremely proud of her.”

The artwork in the statewide competition was chosen after they won the regional competition of 16 high schools in Athens earlier in the month. Each student was allowed to enter as many as five pieces into the state competition. The Belpre students entered more than 20 collective pieces.

Belpre High School has been represented in the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Competition with Tharp’s instruction for more than 25 years, he said.

In that time, Tharp estimates he has had 13 students, including Carter, win the competition and have pieces exhibited in the state office tower. The last time was in 2009 when then-junior Paige Hall won.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot of my students, but if you think about how many students are in the state and participate in this competition, it is really amazing to know the talent of our kids,” he added.

Some of Carter’s work, as well as that of many other BHS art students, will be featured in their annual exhibit in one of the windows of Elder Beerman at the Grand Central Mall beginning May 2.

Next month, the students will have artwork exhibited in Marietta at Riverside Artists Gallery, 219 Second St., Marietta, and Marietta Municipal Court, at 259 Butler St.