St. Thomas More High School is pleased to announce that senior Nicole Wicker won the Gold Key, the highest honor at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Wicker will receive her award at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the competition’s regional partner, this Saturday, February 10, at 3:00 p.m. To recognize this incredible achievement, Wicker’s award-winning ring will be on display in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Schroeder Galleria until March 18.
Presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for exceptionally creative students in grades seven to 12. Students winning a Gold Key have shown the highest level of craftsmanship, imagination, and voice, as evaluated by local artists, university professors, art historians, and curators.
“Many of Nicole’s pieces exhibit these characteristics, so the hard part was picking the piece to submit for the competition,” visual arts teacher Jodi Brzezinski said, who was named the 2017 Wisconsin Art Educator of the Year by the Wisconsin Art Education Association. “It is a joy to see her process develop in her sketchbook and come to fruition in her pieces. I am always blown away by her craftsmanship.”
“The biggest lesson that I have learned over my four years of art at STM is not to limit myself,” Wicker said. “Coming in freshman year I would pick projects that I knew I could do well and avoided pieces I was unsure of how to make. Through my visual arts courses at STM, I realized that when I take risks, my pieces are more successful.” Highlighting her ambition, after graduating from STM this year, Wicker plans on attending Carroll University to study biology and chemistry in preparation for medical school.
Wicker carefully crafted her award-winning ring last semester during her Advanced Placement (AP) Studio class. The idea started in her handmade sketchbook, where she experimented with the ring’s design. Next, she explored which metals would be the best medium for her piece. Then, she refined the design, made templates for each part of the ring, and carved the metal. Finally, she repeated the process of filing, sanding, and soldering until the ring was ready to be buffed to its final shine.
Of all her art courses at STM, AP Studio has been Wicker’s favorite. “We have a lot of freedom with our pieces with what media we use, how big the piece is, or what the design is,” she said. “Everything is up to us to decide.”
Wicker was one of ten STM students to enter the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition this school year. Parents, alumni, and other members of the community are encouraged to view other original works of art designed by Wicker and her classmates at the AP Studio Spring Art show, which will be held on May 18 in the newly renovated STM Learning Commons.