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Art Throwdown
By: Meredith F., Teen Press Corps Member
 

Last weekend I got the wonderful opportunity to photograph Art Throwdown at the High. Jeff Mather kicked off the day’s activities with a speech about the mission of the Throwdown, comparing students’ involvement in visual art to that of athletics and performing arts. It seems there is a competitive nature to just about all of these, but for some reason competition isn’t as common in visual art.The Throwdown was created to instill a sense of teamwork, rivalry, and camaraderie among students and teachers in Atlanta-area high school art programs. Saturday’s events included challenges in facial and figure drawing, digital photography, graphic design, writing, collaborative painting, dimensional paper sculpture, and wearable sculpture as well as a gallery display and various workshops. Schools brought “teams” full of talented artists to compete in each of the challenges, sometimes solo, other times as pairs or small groups.The competition, while friendly and all in good fun, was awe inspiring to witness. In the face-to-face quick draw, students paired up across from one another and drew their opponent’s face in the given time limit. One artist from each pairing would move on to the next round, and the time limits would gradually decrease, until 2 final artists were given 45 seconds to draw. I was so mesmerized by how quickly their charcoals moved and how accurate the features were. I felt like I would miss something if I blinked. In a challenge where time was far less of an issue, I was still just as impressed. Several teams of 3 competed in the collaborative painting challenge with a more generous time constraint of about 45 minutes. On large canvases or wood panels, students sloshed paint, paper, and various media to achieve an effect reminiscent of painter Jose Parla’s segmented style. Some played with graffiti, others with newspaper, while some threw in a doll head or two. The sheer variety among the painting styles was impressive.I think I speak on behalf of everyone who attended Saturday’s Throwdown when I say the event was a huge success. I didn’t even participate in the challenges and I felt as though I was walking away with fresh inspiration and a new perspective on what my peers and I do as young artists.You can check out some of my shots from the Throwdown here.

Note: You can learn more about Throwdown, including how your school can participate, at www.artthrowdown.com

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