Palmerton student receives honorable mention award for his artwork

Palmerton Area School District  |  Posted on

Joshua Merkel poses with his self-portrait.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the nation’s longest running, most prestigious recognition program for creative students. The contest allows students to submit their artwork and writing for the chance to be awarded at the regional and potentially the national level. Joshua Merkel, 11th grade student at Palmerton Area Senior High School, submitted his 22 x 28 inch acrylic self portrait painting “Graded” and earned an Honorable Mention award. This painting is now eligible for exhibition at Kutztown University’s Miller Gallery from mid-February through early-March 2024. Our region had over 650 artwork submissions this year from more than 70 different schools. Josh’s painting was among 247 Honorable Mention awards selected based on originality, skill and emergence of a personal voice or vision by some of the foremost leaders in the arts.

Josh’s painting is especially meaningful because it is his first self portrait. He expressed the challenges of accurately capturing the proportions of the eyes, hands and hair and making sure that the image was not warped.

“From having Josh in Advanced Art, I knew that he always makes his projects and artist statements very professionally finished and personally meaningful, which is exactly the expertise that a young artist needs to be successful in entering contests and exhibition opportunities like the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards,” said Palmerton High School art teacher Brianna Keiser.

Josh expressed, “It was challenging, but with the outcome I also feel like it was very rewarding”.

Josh is the first student from Palmerton High School to enter and be awarded by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Josh plans to attend the awards ceremony on February 25, 2024, to see his painting along with the entire display of awarded work at Kutztown University.