July 23 06:27 PM

The beauty of science

Almont Middle School students catch judge's eye in DTE Energy art contest

November 05, 2008
Is electricity beautiful? Artistic? Inspiring?

For a group of Almont Middle School students the answer is yes.

The subject of renewable energy flips the switch when it comes to creativity for Josh Israel, Zach Nagy, Libby Nowicki,Thomas Sorentino and Lindsay Wentworth. Under the guidance of art teacher Lisa Wright, the 8th graders produced artwork with a message for the DTE Energy Renewable Energy Art Contest.

First place winner Lindsay Wentworth with a color copy of her drawing.

Wentworth earned the top prize in the contest—a $2,000 grant from DTE for Almont Middle School to use to purchase art supplies. Her entry will also grace the cover of this year's holiday greeting cards that DTE will send to thousands of business professionals and executives.

Entries by Israel, Nagy, Nowicki and Sorentino each made it to the finalist category.

With the theme 'Making the World a Better Place through Renewable Energy,' entering was more than a simple matter of putting paint or pencil or pastels to paper. The students were challenged with a topic that seems more scientific than artistic—one they needed to become familiar with in order to express it in artistic fashion.

"It's not necessarily a theme that lends itself to beautiful artwork," Wright chuckles. "It was a challenging assignment."

Wright, who presented the contest guidelines to 7th and 8th grade art students, says they first discussed the concept of renewable energy and defined the term.

"It was a hard topic at first," Wright says. "We talked about things like solar power, about corn for ethanol and wind and solar energy and the kids just went from there."

Contest rules required that entries include images and/or themes related to clean energy and renewable resources, and were judged on originality, quality, theme and artistic ability.

Wright says she's proud of all of her students, and is excited that so many did so well.

"To have four finalists was excellent, and it's more terrific that we had a first place winner," she says.

Lindsay Wentworth's first place painting is an uplifting piece, Wright says, which may be why it was deemed the winner.

"It's a very peaceful type of picture with the sunset in the background," Wright says, noting that Lindsay used watercolors for her creation.

The painting has a minimalist quality to it, but it reflects a number of aspects Lindsay feels about the project.

Almont Middle School students Libby Nowicki, Thomas Sorentino, Zach Nagy and Josh Israel created drawings that made it into the finalist category in a DTE Energy Renewable Art Contest. photo by Catherine Minolli.

"I wanted to draw the windmills working from the wind and I drew the sky and used a bunch of pretty colors to show something about how the sun produces energy," Lindsay says.

The first-year art student says she enjoys the subject so far—however since she recently transferred to Dryden Jr./Sr. High School she can't take art class until next year.

Lindsay says she was completely surprised to learn her painting won first place, since she's fairly new to the art world.

"I wouldn't mind getting into art when I'm older," She says.

Josh Israel isn't interested in going into art when he gets older, but his drawing reflects the careers he'd like to pursue.

Josh drew a rural scene that included a farm powered with wind turbines and the house fueled by solar energy. An ethanol pump was also included in his colored-pencil piece.

Josh says he was pleased that his drawing made it into the final judging, since he's interested in the subject.

"I'd like to get into technology and alternative energy when I get older," he says.

Zach Nagy used pastels for his entry. He drew a globe and included the message 'Renewable Energy can Change the World' on the piece.

"I didn't think it would win and am glad it was a finalist," Zach says. "I think I could have done better."

He'd like to become a lawyer when he grows up.

Libby Nowicki incorporated a number of renewable energy ideas into her piece. She drew a globe representing the Earth with windmills, an ocean for hydropower, a cornfield for biofuel and a glowing sunset for solar energy. Libby also included the message 'Making the World a Better Place Through Alternative Energy.' Nowicki plans to become an equine veterinarian when she grows up.

Thomas Sorrentino used watercolors for his painting depicting wind turbines. He, too was surprised that his creation made it into the finalist category.

"It's pretty neat, I really didn't expect it," Thomas grins.

Though he obviously has artistic flair, Sorrentino isn't sure what he'd like to do when he grows up.

To learn more about the DTE Energy Renewable Energy Art Contest and to view winners' and finalists' entries visit the Web site

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