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Grand Island, NE 68802
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GISH art student gains national recognition


When Grand Island Senior High senior Adriana Catalan first experienced art as a kid, she never envisioned where it would lead her.

“I didn’t start taking art seriously until my junior year,” Catalan said. “I came to a realization there is nothing I enjoy doing more than art, and that I had to take it seriously because I just couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

In her senior year, Catalan entered many art pieces into the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. This competition is the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious program for students in grades seven through twelve. With remarkable alumni such as Andy Warhol having received awards from the same program, Catalan is among the top tier of student artists.

Grand Island Senior High senior Adriana CatalanThe pieces Catalan entered included two portfolios composed of eight works each - one portfolio of paintings and one portfolio of sculptures. Both of these portfolios received the top award of Gold Key.

In addition, her sculpture “Untitled” received the American Visions award, meaning it was best in show. This piece is automatically accepted into the National Scholastics Show in New York, where only 300 pieces selected from across the nation will be shown.

Jerome Dubas, Catalan’s art teacher at GISH, believes ambition is what sets her apart.

“Catalan’s passion and conviction in her art making coupled with an amazing work ethic has garnered respect for her as a young artist.” Dubas said. “When she works, all of her energy is focused on making design decisions and her ability to make sophisticated choices in reflecting her personal perspective reflects her maturity in developing ideas.”

Grand Island Senior High senior Adriana Catalan's piece "Untitled"“Untitled” would not have turned out the same if not for a mishap halfway through. In her process of making it, the sculpture was accidentally knocked off the table by another student, crashing the ceramic piece onto the floor in broken shards.

“It took forever to finish, and as soon as I finished it, it broke,” Catalan said. “I still decided to remake it though, and the second time it didn’t take as long.”

The second try was nearly identical to the first, and luckily remained in one piece throughout the whole creation.

“I’m most proud of the piece because it’s the most recognition I’ve ever got for art,” she said. “Awards don’t mean much to me, but it’s nice to know people see and appreciate my work.”

Catalan received twelve awards this year, seven of which were Gold Keys.

Dubas is confident Catalan’s artistic ability will lead to her success in the future.

“She has all of the tools needed to be successful. The connections and opportunities available at a good art school will provide her with all the resources she needs.” Dubas said.

By taking art seriously within the visual arts program at Senior High, Catalan honed into her passion of creation and is now nationally recognized for it. She hopes to continue developing her skills in the future and create more remarkable pieces. She plans on attending University of Nebraska, Lincoln to study art, graduating with either a bachelor of the arts or master of the arts degree.

“I’d like to be a college professor in art, or maybe just get my bachelors and teach art at the high school level,” Catalan said. “I don’t quite know, I just know I want to teach art.”

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