Nonnewaug students win national art honors

The following appeared in The Republican-American -

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Nonnewaug High School Junior Isabella Savino with her award-winning piece "Compassion'


Nonnewaug High School Senior Mekhi Chambers has been nationally honored for his piece 'Fitting In'


WOODBURY – Two Nonnewaug High School students have won national honors for their artwork depicting issues that many young adults face today – race relations and the isolation brought on by social distancing during COVID-19.

Mekhi Chambers and Isabella Savino were both chosen for the prestigious 2021 National Art Honor Society Juried Exhibition, given to 93 students nationwide out of more than 1,187 submissions.

Chamber’s piece “Fitting In” touches on the feeling of being a young Black man in a mainly white town. The pen and ink self portrait shows Chambers standing at the bathroom sink painting his face white.

“I wanted to show that feeling of me trying to change myself, and how I look physically, how I dress and my personality, to be the minority that fits in with the majority,” said Chambers, a senior.

The artist hopes his piece will show people that they don’t have to change themselves to fit in.

Savino, a junior, said she lost her passion for art this past summer while in quarantine and away from school. Being back in school and the slow return to normalcy has reignited her fire. Her still-life pencil piece, “Compassion,” reflects that.

The pen-to-paper drawing of various household antique items offers up a multi-dimensional, full range of darks and lights with notable texture and flow.

NHS visual arts teachers Leeza Desjardins said both pieces are a reflection “of what was going on for them. It’s about the personal voice and this is what made their artwork stand out.”

Desjardins said having everyone back at school has energized students and teachers.

“It’s that connection with people,” she said, acknowledging that the lack of human contact took its toll on everyone.