NORTH CANTON Alexis Greer Armentrout, a senior at Lake High School, was awarded the Best of Show in this year’s 76th annual May Show at The Little Art Gallery of the North Canton Public Library.
Every year, The Little Art Gallery invites artists living and working in Stark County to submit entries for the juried show. Deborah J. Gray and Alex Budden were this year’s jurors, both have long professional careers working in the arts.
The May Show awards Best in Show, second and third places and honorable mentions. Armentrout, the Best in Show recipient, has been working on her talents for as long as she can remember.
Her piece called "Curtains" was somewhat of a self-portrait. She said the piece started as a selfie she took of herself in her bathroom. The final work was a pencil drawing on paper. The piece has already sold to one of the jurors.
"I took the original photo on my cell phone, something about the lighting caught my attention and as soon I took the photo I knew I wanted to draw it," Armentrout said. "My main focus has been on pencil drawing on paper or clay board and I like drawing people. I also enjoy oil painting. This piece has really been my favorite of all the works I’ve done."
She’s been taking AP studio classes in high school and attributes her success to her mentor Frank Dale and to her art teachers, Karan Knish and Jason Keller. After graduating Lake High School this spring, Armentrout is headed to The Cleveland Institute of Art where she will start classes in August. She has received a $10,000 a year scholarship through the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Competition to attend the art college for four years. She wants to make her living as an artist.
"I was overwhelmingly happy when I learned my piece won Best in Show. My family and I learned together when we came to the opening reception and the curator, Elizabeth Blakemore, walked us over to the piece," Armentrout said.
Her parents, grandparents, a great grandmother and her aunt were with her when she found out she had been awarded the top honor. Parents, Laura and Mike, said they were proud of her and happy to see all of her hard work being recognized.
"Her dedication over the years has been amazing, while other kids were outside, she was in her room practicing her skills," Laura Armentrout said.
"We started seeing the artist in her from an early age, we think she has found her niche in drawing the human form," Mike Arementrout added.
Arementrout received an honorable mention at the the Stark County High School Show held at the Canton Museum of Art and made it into the top 300 out of 10,000 submissions to exhibit in the Governor’s Office in Columbus.
"I can say in my 10 years I’ve been working with the May Show, Alexis is the youngest artist to have won Best in Show," Blakemore wrote in an email. "Alexis’s attention to detail and control of the media shows a refined talent. I agree with what the jurors commented about her work."
Blakemore also wrote that there were a few changes in the show this year including opening the competition to those who work in Stark County, along with those who live in the county.
"We also eliminated categories within the jury process, in part because of a restructuring of awards while also allowing each piece of work to be viewed on its own, rather than one in a category of others," Blakemore wrote. "Photography and digital art were also encouraged this year."
The May Show exhibit will be open throughout the month.