Henrico student wins scholarship for COVID-19 art portfolio

Congratulations to high school student Jasmine Mason! In a time when everyone seems depressed, for good reason, Mason is turning heads with his startling work of art, which just won him a major national scholarship.

Jasmine, who is currently completing her final year at the Henrico High School Arts Center, was recently awarded the Gold Medal of the 97th Annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the highest honor from the country’s oldest scholarship program. for creative teens.

Mason won the award for her gripping portfolio “Waiting …” in which she “investigates the life and act of waiting through documenting real-life situations in her community where her neighbors await daily necessities” during the pandemic.

She was one of only 16 selected students in the country and she will receive a scholarship of $ 10,000, which has already been won by Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates and Andy Warhol.

Style contacted Mason by email to find out more:

Style Weekly: What do you think of winning and where do you plan to use the scholarship?

Jasmine Mason: Growing up in a lower middle class black family, I always learned not to hope too much, so when I found out I had won it was a very surreal moment, and I can’t still not quite describe how I feel. I plan to use the Columbus College of Art and Design scholarship.

How did you come up with the idea for the series? Which community is represented?

As a senior in the art program I participate in, seniors need to create a portfolio of eight cohesive pieces that explore an exciting theme. When I was choosing subjects to paint, I noticed that all of my subjects had two things in common: they were all waiting, and they were all ethnic. After learning this, I decided to pursue this idea further. Through my investigation, I learned that the city of Richmond / Henrico, where I live, is deeply separated by economic status. At the same time, predominantly white people in the west are privileged to have personal transport and higher paying jobs, predominantly ethnic people like me in the east use public transport and have 9-5 jobs. less well paid.

What did you feel like you learned from doing this project?

While working on the project, I learned that disenfranchised communities are still waiting for change and are continually being neglected.

Why do you think art is important and what do you want to do for a career?

I think art creates a visual language that transcends different languages ​​and cultures [to] bring together different opinions and ideas.

I plan to own an architecture business and design community centers that help inner city areas improve.