For the first time in the history of the REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE, a student at Woodlawn High School was awarded Best in Show, the competition’s top recognition. Junior Naya Smith was selected as Best in Show for her piece titled My Past Life. In addition to a $500 cash prize, Naya and Woodlawn High School received a trophy to display at Woodlawn High School.

“I just decided to do this piece because I wanted to do something that represented me,” said Naya about her award-winning work.

Every April, Baton Rouge Gallery opens its doors for its annual REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE Juried High School Exhibition. This year’s exhibition shines a light on over 70 works of original art produced by students from East Baton Rouge public and private high school students. This year’s works were selected from a pool of over 150 works by students from across EBR.

The exhibition is made possible by the support of Cordell & Ava Haymon. The goal of the exhibition is to share the talents of area students with the Baton Rouge community while encouraging the students to continue pursuing their artistic talents outside the classroom.

The exhibition also draws attention to the importance of arts education, celebrating both its positive effects on the youth of our community and the efforts of the educators that challenge their students on a daily basis.

Baton Rouge Gallery started the REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE Juried High School Exhibition in the early 1990s. The idea was to give students a “real life” experience so that they knew what it was like to be a professional artist outside of the school. Each year, the works that are chosen are juried by three professional artists.

The following students from Woodlawn High School had artwork included in this year’s exhibit.

Angel Caine, (2 pieces), Xiangjun Cui, Brianna Cutforth (2 pieces), Christopher Delcid, Rachel Ezell (2 pieces), Isaiah John, Destiny Leger, Joann Mayeux (3 pieces), Thomas Sauce, Naya Smith (3 pieces), and Kerrin Whitley (2 pieces).

Some information for this article was taken from the Baton Rouge Gallery website, which can be viewed by clicking here.