An Enumclaw High senior was recently named a winner of the 48th Annual Superintendent’s High School Art Show.
The art show, hosted by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, was streamed virtually on May 20 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Meredth Petellin was one of nearly two dozen winners of the art show, which featured high school artists from around the state. Her piece, “Liberty and Justice,” not only earned her bragging rights, but a $2,000 Art and Change scholarship award to Central Washington University.
In a recent interview, Petellin said she only recently got into being an artist.
“My family — both my grandparents on each side — they’re all really artistic, so it’s kind of in the family, but I didn’t really realize I loved it so much until high school,” she said, adding that she quickly rose through the art class ranks from beginner art classes to advanced classes to the Advance Placement (AP) class this last year.
In particular, Petellin enjoys drawing portraits, trying to make her subjects as realistic as possible.
And speaking of realism, “Liberty and Justice” is clearly inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that started in 2012 and came to a head last spring when George Floyd was killed by Officer Derek Chauvin.
Petellin didn’t create the graphite-and-marker medium art piece for the competition, but as “a way for me to process and learn about the events taking place,” she said. “So I did a lot of historical research on the headlines in the background of it. And then for the fists, I used that as a way to represent the fight for equality.”
But then her teacher, Randy Cook, saw the piece and encouraged Petellin to submit it to the annual OSPI art competition.
“It was a really important piece for me, because I wanted to depict the history of injustice in our country, and the ongoing fight for equality,” Petellin continued.