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West Valley City Journal

Art Contest Winner to Participate in Prestigious Workshop

Jul 15, 2016 09:48AM ● By Bryan Scott

Rudy Suaste stops for a photo with Mayor Ron Bigelow and Councilman Steve Vincent. —Martin Suaste

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Rudy Suaste will add a few new strokes to his artistic career this summer.

Suaste, a junior at Granger High School, won the Fire Within art scholarship on May 17, provided by the West Valley Arts Council and Granger High. The scholarship will see him attend the Visual Arts Institute in July.

“I was excited to have his hard work recognized,” Liz Matthews, visual arts teacher at Granger High, said.

This marked the third year the Fire Within award was given. The award is presented to a 10th or 11th grade student who submits the largest number of worthy pieces to the Spring Art Exhibit at Granger.

“Our purpose in creating this award was to strengthen students’ abilities in our art department by encouraging attendance at art summer school programs,” Matthews said.

Suaste submitted 24 pieces over the course of the school year across a variety of mediums such as charcoal, graphite, oils, acrylic, mixed media, oil pastel and color pencil on paper, wood and canvas surfaces.

“I’m most uncomfortable with charcoal, graphite… anything that wasn’t really painting because I’ve never tried or experimented with those before,” Suaste said.

One requirement for the scholarship award means Suaste will have to present his art work to the West Valley Arts Council and hang an exhibit at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center for a month.

“This’ll give [Suaste] some great experience and something quite impressive to put on scholarship and college applications,” Matthews said.

Suaste said he is very excited about the workshop. It is a Summer Figure Academy where students learn to draw and paint people realistically.

“I’ve never had proper training on how to paint people sophisticatedly so I’m most excited about that,” Suaste said.

Art has proved an outlet for Suaste. The inspiration for his paintings come as a “form of self-expression.”

“I’m not very comfortable expressing myself verbally, I’m a bit of a closed bottle so whenever I’m happy or sad or whatever, I express myself through my art,” Suaste said.

Suaste said the Fire Within scholarship is a motivating factor when putting together his art.

“It gives the students a lot of determination and something to push for,” Suaste said. “This made me feel like a mature artist and that I’m growing and experiencing something new.”

The two previous students who won the award were Jorge Gutierrez and Nawres Al Saud. Al Saud learned so much during the workshop last year that she created a kickstarter campaign to earn money to attend again this year.

“Her [Al Saud] enthusiasm for art is contagious,” Matthews said. “Her skills improved dramatically [as a result of the workshop].”

Both Gutierrez and Al Saud had their art accepted to the Springville Museum of Art’s All-State High School Art Show.

Gutierrez, the inaugural winner of the award, went on to win the Best Overall in 2-D award at the Granite Art Night this year and serves as the National Art Honor Society President. He receive the Golden Lancer award at Granger’s Senior Banquet this year.

“It’s impossible to measure the influence his success has had on the art department…Jorge is a natural leader with great motivational skills,” Matthews said. “We can see strong connections to the honor and encouragement he received by winning the Fire Within scholarship award.”

Matthews said she hopes the West Valley Arts Council continues to provide the scholarship every year “because improving the talent of our young artists has a tremendous impact on our school and community.”

Suaste said he has plans to pursue artistic endeavors after high school just like the two scholarship winners before him.

“I do it because they’re part of my dreams, so why not chase them,” Suaste said.

Granger High was awarded a second Fire Within Scholarship by the West Valley Arts Council so finalist Brynleigh Rosier will also attend the VAI Figure Academy workshop in July.