Pittsfield student artwork jazzing up City Hall

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PITTSFIELD — The lobby walls of City Hall have been transformed into a kaleidoscope of color, cascading keyboards and swinging saxophones.

A total of 106 original student artworks were created for the seventh annual Berkshires Jazz Student Art Contest. Contest winners were given awards and certificates on Tuesday morning in front of the exhibit, created in honor of national Jazz Appreciation Month.

"One of our goals is to get young people more involved in activities, and maybe this way, they'll become more interested in jazz, too," said project coordinator Art Niedeck, a jazz musician, music educator, and co-chairman of the Berkshires Jazz Education Committee.

Participating schools included Pittsfield High School, Taconic High School, St. Joseph Central High School and Miss Hall's School.

Judging this year's Student Art Contest were local painters Scott Taylor, Diane Firtell and Julio Granda.

The top three contest winners are Pittsfield High School's Max Whalen and Taylor Turner, a freshman and senior respectively, and St. Joe junior Anita Curtin. The work of one of these winners will be chosen to become the graphic symbol of the 11th annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, slated to take place in mid-October. The winners and their teachers were also interviewed by Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi for a show that will air on Pittsfield Community Television.

Curtain, who has previously entered the contest with her classmate Leanne Hamilton, one of this year's five honorable mentions, said she enjoyed the challenge of experimenting with color and design.

"It's cool to see such different ideas on display," Curtain said.

"And it's nice to get some of your artwork out there and noticed," Hamilton said.

Whalen said he researched various images and incorporated triangle designs to come up with his mosaic-like poster.

Turner said her piece was inspired in part by her study of jazz in her chorus class. Across one edge of her painting is some of the musical notation for Bart Howard's "Fly Me to the Moon," also known as "In Other Words," made popular through renditions by singers Kaye Ballard and Frank Sinatra.

"For me, just having the energy of the kids here is wonderful," Bianchi said. "Having them participate in this contest while there's another student art show over at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts is great for the area."

Contact Jenn Smith at 413-496-6239.

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2015 Berkshires Jazz Student Art Contest Results

Overall winners

Anita Curtin, St. Joe, Grade 11

Taylor Turner, PHS, Grade 12

Max Whalen, PHS, Grade 9

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Honorable mentions

Kaylin Barcus, PHS, Grade 11

Leanne Hamilton, St. Joe, Grade 11

Ethan Kittles, PHS, Grade 12

Tegan Lyon, PHS, Grade 11

Leslie Tayi, Taconic, Grade 11

Judge's choice:

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Andrew LaPatin, PHS, Grade 11

Shane McMahon, PHS, Grade 10

Alicia Williamson, PHS, Grade 11


Diane Firtell

Julio Granda

Scott Taylor

Art teachers:

PHS: Colleen Quinn, Lisa Ostellino, Barbara Patton

Taconic: Marybeth Eldridge, Mike Boroniec

St. Joe: Dale Zola

Miss Hall's: Ellie Kreischer, Sophie Lee


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