Achievers of the MAEA


Credit: Aimee Smith

Massachusetts Amazing Emerging Artists held an art competition where students from all over the state could submit their work to be judged. Wayland High School had five student participants, four of which won awards for their work.

The 2022 Massachusetts Amazing Emerging Artists, or MAEA, is a recognition exhibit designed for artistic students to showcase their work and be judged. For Wayland, four Wayland High School students won awards for their respective pieces. The winners were seniors Dora Chen, Megan Chau, Skylar Gould and Nadia Calder.

WHS Visual Art teacher Veronique Latimer nominated five students in total, and all five of the entries were accepted. Latimer hand-picked these students based on their powerful pieces they created in the fall.

“It’s highly competitive to just get into the show, so it’s so exciting that all the students got in,” Latimer said. “Teachers being a part of the process is great, so we can really show some of the best pieces of the department.”

The competition is judged by a panel of art educators from all over the state. They critique each piece completely based on the artwork, without knowledge of who it belongs to or what school it is from. On the website, there is a list of things they are looking for, such as technical skills and an original vision.

“They want to see that the artist’s intent is apparent in their individual work, and that it is visually successful,” Latimer said. “These AP Studio Art students have been developing their concentration in a specific body of work, an original theme that they pursue in all their pieces. It’s neat to see those concentrations evolve.”

Over the years the competition has changed due to COVID-19. The show and award ceremonies are on Zoom instead of displaying the art at the State Transportation Building in Boston. All the submissions are sent through photo images of the work, rather than the actual physical copy.

“[The competition has] its positives and negatives, since Zoom allows more people to have access to seeing the art, and you can send the link to families and friends,” Latimer said. “But, it was really special and cool to go see the pieces in Boston.”

This year, the winning art pieces are displayed on MAEA’s website, The artwork entered into the competition is highly personalized and specific to each artists’ theme. This means that the artwork was created without the competition in mind, but rather, the best piece the artist created. Although the pieces are all very distinct, there are a variety of categories that the artists’ were able to win. The four awards Wayland High School contestants won were: the Hat Sister Award, Blick Art Award, Art for All Award and the MAEA Art Educator Award.

Chau, the winner of the Art for All Award, submitted a piece about her identity entitled the “Quiet Cat.” She drew a self portrait with a cat using water colors, colored pencils and pencils. However, it was the intent behind the drawing that was really important to Chau.

“My inspiration for this piece was how quiet I used to be when I was younger, and how other people would make comments about being surprised whenever I spoke,” Chau said. “One of my teachers told me I reminded her of a cat, I was so quiet.”

Gould, won the Blick Art Supplies Award, after entering her art book made out of linoleum prints. Linoleum prints or “linocuts” are prints made from carving images into a soft linoleum block before stamping it onto paper. The submission was called “Laundry Book,” and is shaped as an accordion book.

“With this piece, I wanted to convey the beauty found in mundane everyday actions,” Gould said. “I chose hanging up a shirt because laundry is an activity I enjoy and see as a form of self care, despite it being considered a chore.”

Chen won the Hat Sister Award, an award dedicated to honoring the death of an art educator who was very well known in Massachusetts. Chen’s piece, called “Xianyu”, shows a girl in the water, surrounded by vibrant fish.“It represents her name in Chinese, which means fish,” Latimer said. “She said how there’s this Chinese proverb about how you need to catch your dreams, and you can’t catch a fish from the bank, you have to be in the water.’”

Similarly, Calder, the winner of the MAEA Art Educator Award, submitted a painting about childhood, imagination and nostalgia.

“I’m doing stuff about imagination [for my AP art theme], like a child’s imagination, and in my piece it’s a bunch of hanging clothes and they’re all childrens clothes with really bright colors and patterns,” Calder said. “It’s kind of just showing that there’s a lot of creativity and imagination in childhood.”

Painting this still life was challenging for Calder, but she feels like it definitely paid off in the end. Before creating this piece, Calder had little practice painting cloth, so she spent a lot of time figuring out how to make the shadows and folds look realistic, and the colors pop.

“[I learned] not to be afraid to take a while on certain pieces because this is definitely the [artwork] that I spent the most time on out of this whole year,” Calder said. “So definitely just have patience with the piece and stick with it.”

Their patience paid off: for their respective awards each artist won a sum of prize money ranging from $50-500. This money can be used for anything, but some winners, like Calder, intend to use the money to buy more art supplies for future use.

The competition is a fun way to inspire students to continue producing their best quality work. Each winning piece displays immense talent and shows their unique backgrounds in many different ways. Wayland’s four winners all worked in different mediums, yet they all show the dedication and passion behind their work.

“All of [the students] have been working really hard, and these pieces are some of the strongest ones I saw this fall,” Latimer said. “Maybe next year it’ll be in person!”