36th Annual “Touch the Future” Art Show Honors Bucks & Montgomery High School Students

(BLUE BELL, PA) – For the 36th year, top works of art from Bucks and Montgomery County high school students will be featured during the Annual “Touch the Future” art show, in collaboration with Montgomery County Community College, beginning on Sunday, March 5th.

“Touch the Future” is a professionally-juried art exhibit named in tribute to Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space who perished aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 and was known to have said, “I touch the future. I teach.”

Touch the Future is sponsored by the Mideastern Region of the Pennsylvania State Education Association and the Council for the Advancement of Public Schools.

“We are thrilled to partner again with Montgomery County Community College to offer the parents, teachers, and the public a gallery of the amazing artwork created in our public schools,” said Alan Malachowski, President of PSEA’s Mideastern Region. “Seeing the students’ creativity shine – and in the setting of a professional gallery – is truly inspiring.”

Ninety-four public school educators from 26 public high schools submitted 449 works of art for consideration to be included in the show. The winners were selected by Emily L. Dugan, Admissions Counselor at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art.

“The best part of my job as an admissions counselor is getting to see all the incredible work that you, the students, submit to us when applying to college,” said Emily L. Dugan in an excerpt from her juror’s statement. “I can say with certainty that I was blown away. Looking at each piece, thinking about how you all have pushed yourself creatively, conceptually, and through materials has left me overwhelmed; not just at the power of art and creativity, but of the empathic and vulnerable ways in which you all did so.”

The art show, which is open to the public, will remain on display at the Blue Bell Art Gallery through March 30th. The show would not be possible without “Touch the Future” co-chairs and local educators Mike Werner and Joanne Carrick from North Penn High School, and Terry O’Neill from Neshaminy High School.

“Montgomery County Community College is delighted to host this annual exhibition that highlights the amazing artwork created by the region’s talented high school students,” said Dr. Victoria L. Bastecki-Perez, MCCC President. “Hosting an exhibit that honors Christa McAuliffe is befitting since MCCC’s Pottstown Campus is home to Pennsylvania’s first and only Challenger Learning Center, which continues the legacy of the crew of Challenger flight STS-51L (including Christa McAuliffe) by providing interactive STEM-based space missions.”

This year, 22 students were awarded prizes, which were sponsored by being sponsored by the PSEA Mideastern Region CAPS Program, the PSEA Montco-Retired, and the Selma Burke Foundation.

One award is chosen by PSEA-MER teachers and will be awarded at the Art Show’s closing reception – the Rosemary Hamilton Memorial Teachers Choice Award. Artworks chosen for the PSEA-Mideastern Region purchase prize receive a place of honor in the art gallery in PSEA-MER’s office in Montgomeryville.

A listing of the winning artists is below.

1st Place Best of ShowMiah YamadaCouncil Rock High School North“Escapism”/ PaintingJim Biglan
2nd Place Best of ShowAva MorganCentral Bucks High School West“Is it True?” / Color DrawingAllison Levin
3rd Place Best of ShowKathryn MurraySouderton Area High School“Harmony” / 2-D Design and IllustrationGinny Perry
Computer AnimationSoha ChowdhuryNorth Penn High School“Flashenstein Returns”Michael Werner
Drawing- Black & WhiteBane ChildPennsbury High School“Master work of Pieter Claesz”Curtis May
Color Drawing Iman AzeezCouncil Rock High School South“One More Pill”Michael Catalano
Painting-Acrylic, Oil, TemperaMaiah McGowenPennridge High School“Untitled”Sarah Moos
2-D Mixed Media  Kendra HudsonCouncil Rock High School South“Internal Control Diptyque”Michael Catalano
2-D DesignPhilip RacekSouderton Area High School“Landscape”Sabrina Pistoria
PrintmakingMadison O’SullivanHarry S. Truman High School“Persephone”Karen Byceland
Digital Imaging/Computer GraphicsSophia ChoiNorth Penn High School“Candid”Colleen Cooney-Irwin
Traditional Silver PrintVia AlessandroWilliam Tennent High School“Romanticism”Kristen King
Digital PhotographyBryan RicoAbington Senior High School“Shadow Self”Chelsea Puglese
Fiber CraftsFotima AkramovaCouncil Rock High School South“Interwoven Culture”Michael Catalano
Watercolor Erin WirantSpring-Ford High School“Painter’s Soul in Retired Tools”Brent Kissel
Sue Castle Memorial Award (Jewelry/Metals)Mars PratteSpring-Ford High School“Pages of Them”Karen Gallagher
3-D Mixed Media Sculpture (Sponsored by Selma Burke)Kseniia AleksandrovaUpper Merion Area High School“Face in Water”Michael Moore
3-D Single Medium Sculpture (Sponsored by Selma Burke)Lizzie ShvelidzeCouncil Rock High School South“Fingers”Elizabeth Thomas
3-D Functional  (Sponsored by Selma Burke)Camille PadillaPennsbury High School“The Hare”Kelsey Adair
Selma Burke Sculpture AwardLily PunzoAbington Senior High School“Untitled” / 3-D Mixed Media SculptureKatie Shields
PSEA-MER Purchase AwardEmma PretcherPennsbury High School“Dining Area” / Digital PhotographyDanyelle Lala
PSEA-MER Purchase AwardRyan PhanMethacton High School“Water Pollution” /PaintingCaitlin Fernchak
PSEA-MER Purchase AwardTrinity HobbsSouderton Area High School“Not My World” /2-D DesignGinny Perry
Rosemary Hamilton Memorial Teachers Choice AwardTBD  

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Miah Yamada, Council Rock High School North
Ava Morgan, Central Bucks High School West