Jerry Tollifson was one of the Ohio Art Education Association’s most long-standing, beloved, and influential members. His long and colorful career as an artist and educator inspired countless students and teachers across the state. The Jerry Tollifson Art Criticism Open is one way his legacy continues to encourage and shape art students and teachers today.
Jerry conceived this writing competition as an annual opportunity to recognize students for their ability to articulate and compose critical responses to artworks. He promoted the idea that exercising critical thinking and careful observation while discovering an artwork’s deeper meanings empowered students to also build self-discipline and confidence. He saw the competition as another way to engage students in observing, perceiving, analyzing, and interpreting—abilities that show up repeatedly in the Ohio Fine Arts Learning Standards and National Visual Arts Standards, and also have practical relevance in other academic areas and as life skills.
This competition is open to students of all Ohio Art Education Association members in grades one through twelve. Prizes will be awarded at four division categories: Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. Entries will be judged, blind, by three invited volunteers using the scoring rubric available on the OAEA website. Students with winning entries will be recognized at the OAEA Youth Art Month Celebration in March held at the STRS Building in Columbus. Winning entries will also be featured in an upcoming issue of ArtLine and showcased on the OAEA website.
2020 has been a whirlwind, to say the least. When we were celebrating our 2019 JTACO winners, we did not know what was on the horizon for the year to come. We’ve been hit with a health crisis with the Covid-19 pandemic, navigating the murky waters of remote and virtual learning, a summer of social justice outcry and unrest, and a return to school with more questions than answers. 2020 has been, and continues to be, full of challenges that feel like unsurmountable mountains that we have to climb wearing flip flops.
And through it all, there has been art.
Through it all, artists have been creating beauty from the struggle. We’ve seen art erupting from nothing as artists and makers process the emotions that we’ve all been forced to confront, we’ve seen communities come together to create public works of art to celebrate unity and support one another, and we’ve watched countless movies, TV shows, virtual concerts and performances to help us through this time.
Artists overcome. Artists use their artwork to overcome. Artists use their artwork to help others overcome. What better theme of work to focus on for the 2020 Jerry Tollifson Art Criticism Open? The Student Programming committee has found 8 works from five artists that represent the idea of Overcoming, and we are excited to hear what your students have to say about them.
The competition is open to students of members in grades 1-12. There are four division categories: Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. Each entry will be anonymously scored using the scoring rubric available on the OAEA website. There is only one entry per student allowed, and each teacher may submit up to 10 works per division. Students will choose one of the two works presented for their division category. This year, we are working on streamlining the submission process and details for submission as well as guidelines and the scoring rubric will be available on the OAEA website. Entries are due by December 18th. For questions, email JTACO@ohioarted.com
Click on each artwork to download a PDF image
9th - 12th Grade Division
teamLAB – “Black Waves: Immersive Waves”
Mel Kadel – “Carrying the Load”
6th - 8th Grade Division
Mark Bradford – “Scorched Earth”
Mel Kadel – “Tears for Years”
3rd - 5th Grade Division
Aminah Robinson – “Stand! Protest! Occupy! In 2012”