The Minnesota College of Art and Design (MCAD) hosted the Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards (MSAA), where students across the state were recognized for visual artistic excellence, including Richfield's Brenna Pederson.
Pederson, a Richfield resident who attends the FAIR School in Downtown Minneapolis, received a Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention for her drawings. Her work was among 314 pieces selected from 1,279 individual applications. Pederson also won a summer scholarship program from MCAD, worth $2,500. The program will introduce her to the college experience for a few weeks over the summer while she also earns college credit.
Receving the awards was great recognition for Pederson, who said she has always been artistic.
"I was always doodling," Pederson said. "Even in class, if I'd get bored, I'd just start doodling. I have a short attention span."
A shorter attention span means Pederson prefers to be spontaneous when it comes to creating art, she said.
"With my art, I can never sit and plan stuff," she said. "In my opinion, my greatest stuff are my doodles. I am trying to get better at [planning ahead], though."
She attended Richfield schools until third grade, when a music teacher recommended her for the FAIR School because of her singing. She attended FAIR School in Crystal, MN for five years before switching to the downtown campus.
"FAIR [School] downtown has a different style of teaching,” she said. “You learn differently."
Pederson said she is fortunate enough to experience art as part of her daily curriculum and she believes artistic outlets are essential for all kids.
"I think it gives kids a way to express themselves. For example, I'm not as good at writing, so drawing is a way to say how [I'm] feeling, even if it's [subconscious]," she said.
While she is just a sophomore and still weighing her options for the future, Pederson expects to become more critical of her art and hone her skills.
"I think I need to learn about different kinds of art," she said. "When I was younger, I didn't want to look at areas of improvement, I just wanted to focus on what I was doing well."
When it comes to advice for budding artists, Pederson had this to say:
"Don't give up … There's always room for improvement," she said. "You also need to advocate for yourself, as my mom says. It's not a bad thing to be humble, but it's bad to put yourself down. Just smile and say thank you, and thank all of the people who have helped you."
MSAA Awards: High school art teachers submitted students' work in December 2010 and a jury of art educators determined the winners of the awards. The categories included Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention, both for individual works of art and portfolios. Gold Key winners advance to the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in New York, where they compete for cash prizes and scholarships.