Finley seventh grader Laurel Bonn’s artwork earned a Best in Show Award.

Finley Artists Claim Top Honors at Tulip Festival

Finley seventh grader Laurel Bonn’s artwork earned a Best in Show Award.

May 9, 2018

Talented young artists from J. Taylor Finley Middle School dazzled the judges at the town’s annual Tulip Festival art contest.

Laurel Bonn, Emily Gershuny and Stephanie Wickey claimed awards at the recent ceremony. The Tulip Festival itself is held in Heckscher Park and this year’s crowd was again treated to a spectacular array of colors.

Finley art teacher Dena Mortell beamed while discussing her skilled young artists, as well as many of her other students who also submitted impressive pieces for the contest.

Art teacher Dena Mortell with Laurel Bonn, who is holding the Carolyn Fostel Best in Show Award and a $50 gift card.
Art teacher Dena Mortell with Laurel Bonn, who is holding the Carolyn Fostel Best in Show Award and a $50 gift card.

The contest is open to all students in grades 3-8 attending school in the town. “This year’s theme was ‘Huntington in Bloom,” Ms. Mortell said. “The students were encouraged to independently interpret the theme and create personal reflections of spring time in Huntington.”

All three Finley award recipients are in seventh grade. Ms. Bonn won the Carolyn Fostel Best in Show Award and was presented with a $50 gift card courtesy of NEFCU. Her illustration of Heckscher Park was created with a combination of watercolors and colored pencil.

Ms. Fostel was instrumental in planning and securing sponsorship support of the initial Huntington Tulip Festival in 2001 and continued to be active in these capacities on the festival committee until she passed away in 2011.

Ms. Gershuny, was captured the Best in Grade Award for her colored pencil and watercolor artwork. She also received a $50 from NEFCU.

Ms. Wickey claimed third place in the contest.

The award recipients were selected by a jury of artists and professionals. The students were presented with their prizes at the Huntington Arts Council reception at the Heckscher Museum on Friday. Their artwork remained on display at the museum through the Tulip Festival’s conclusion this past Sunday.

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Ms. Mortell has been a Huntington art teacher since 2013. The Finley art club’s faculty advisor, she obtained an undergraduate degree in graphic design at New York Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree in art education at LIU-C.W Post. She graduated with a 4.0 average.

Ms. Mortell has taught digital photography and cartooning at the USDAN Center for Creative and Performing Arts and in Huntington’s summer arts enrichment program.

Emily Gersuny with Franco Ortiz,   NEFCU branch manager..
Emily Gersuny with Franco Ortiz, NEFCU branch manager.
Finley seventh grader Emily Gershuny’s Best in Grade Award artwork.
Finley seventh grader Emily Gershuny’s Best in Grade Award artwork.
Finley seventh grader Stephanie Wickey garnered third place honors for this colorful piece.
Finley seventh grader Stephanie Wickey garnered third place honors for this colorful piece.
Stephanie Wickey with Franco Ortiz, NEFCU branch manager.
Stephanie Wickey with Franco Ortiz, NEFCU branch manager.
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