Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

February 28, 2014

Young Artist Showcase deadlines soon

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Rural Alliance for the Arts volunteers began the Young Artist Showcase in 1992 as a way to recognize students in grades 6-12 who excel in the arts.

Students are eligible if they reside within Batesville Community School Corp. boundaries; their families have RAA memberships; they attend Batesville High School, Batesville Middle School, Oldenburg Academy or St Louis School; or are home-schooled and living within the BCSC district.

Chairperson Vonni Williamson reports, “The RAA began this program to give students who enjoy and participate in artistic endeavors public recognition in the way sports programs recognize students who excel in those areas. This is intended to encourage young artists to continue to grow and improve at their crafts and be rewarded for their successes.”

“We have very talented and involved coordinators heading up all five different areas of participation, and the signup deadlines are fast approaching.”

Judges evaluate all entries. A perfect score of 10 will earn the student a trophy. The names of trophy winners are placed on plaques at each school.

“A score of 8 to 9.5 will earn the student a blue ribbon,” so not every entrant receives a prize, according to Williamson. “However, students can also be recognized for participation in other area competitions and programs,” such as the Indiana State School Music Association Solo and Ensemble Competition, Catholic Youth Organization Competition and Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy Contest. “If a student has achieved top honors at these contests, RAA may also include them in our recognition program.” Families should contact Williamson at 934-3729 or to see if they are eligible.

The awards are presented at the schools’ end-of-the-year programs.

The chairperson explains, “Some judges do volunteer their time and talent, but the RAA has budgeted for the cost of qualified judges, which speaks to the importance of the program.” Last year Young Artist Showcase awards and other expenses totalled $3,419.

The showcase “is meant to be a serious, but non-threatening environment for students to try out something new or be rewarded for something they already do well. The goal is to encourage continued involvement with the arts throughout their lifetimes.”

Writing coordinator Jeff Hartz says, “It is nice to live in a community that values the arts and gives students the opportunity for recognition for their creative pursuits. For this to work, it is important for volunteers to step up and help organizations like the RAA make these opportunities happen, and it is also important for students to step up and take a chance by entering one of the contests.”


The signup deadline is March 10. There are two categories, fine art and photography. A student is allowed one submission in each. If a student is enrolled in AP art, he or she may submit a body of work of up to four pieces, according to coordinator Roberta Cook.

Judging occurs on four dates: SLS, March 13; OA, March 15; BHS, March 17; photography and BMS, March 19.

Works by ribbon and trophy winners will be on display at the Batesville public library during April. A public reception to honor artists and teachers is scheduled for Sunday, April 13, from 2-4 p.m. Volunteers are needed to provide refreshments.

Cook notes, “Our judges all have four-year Bachelor of Arts degrees and several have Master of Fine Arts degrees. They all have professional art careers or are art teachers.” Info:


The signup deadline is March 14 and judging takes place April 25 in the BHS auditorium, reports coordinator Bonnie Pratt. There is no limit on the number of dances per dancer.

She says, “I encourage all types of dancers to enter. We have lots of students who study dance at local dance studios in Batesville and Greensburg, but also some who travel outside our area to take classes and also some who may not do formal training, but just love to dance.” Pratt suggests, “Arrive on time for the judging, bring your music on an iPhone, iPad or mp3 player and be prepared to dance.”

Instead of judges traveling to various recitals, the format has changed. “This year I have asked the dancers to prepare an individual dance to perform in front of the judges.” Each entrant will be assigned a time after completing the application.

“We have a great local pool of qualified judges,” according to the coordinator. Info:


Students who are in school plays or a summer Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre production are automatically eligible for judging and do not need to sign up for evaluation. “A student can win only one award per school year,” notes coordinator Lois Schrott.

Awards are given based on the average number of points received from both judges. “This is not like the Oscars where someone always wins a Best Actor trophy. Sometimes no one receives a trophy in a given play.” Students who are judged should “be prepared for constructive criticism, which is given to help you improve your acting skills.”

The dozen or so judges come from Batesville, Greensburg, Columbus, Aurora and Cincinnati, and have a wide variety of expertise: “Some have directed shows for high schools in other areas. Some have experience directing or acting in community theater groups. Some have a major or minor in theater from their college years. Others are professional theater folks.” Schrott welcomes more names of qualified judges: or 812-689-5494.


The signup deadline is March 14. There are four categories: vocal, piano, instrumental and original composition. Students may enter more than one category.

Joann Call, who co-coordinates music honors with Kathy Fangman, advises entrants, “Please be serious in your rehearsal for this performance. Come well prepared. If possible, it is best to have a live accompanist.”

The April 23-24 judging will take place at each school. “All of our judges are professional musicians and/or music teachers. Most of them come from the Musical Arts Center in Cincinnati.” She reports, “The past few years we have had so many vocal entrants that we have hired separate judges for the middle and high school divisions. It is a challenge to create a schedule that rotates the various judges from school to school throughout the day, and works around the schedules of the students, music teachers and accompanists.”

“We are always in need of parent volunteers” and RAA is seeking a music co-coordinator for next year. Interested persons may contact Call at 934-3260 or


Due to snow days, the deadline has been extended by one additional week to Friday, March 7.

There are three categories – fiction, poetry and essays. Each category is divided into a middle school and high school section for judging. A student can submit one piece of writing in the fiction and essay categories and two in the poetry category, according to Hartz. A student may enter more than one category.

Entries must be original and not previously published or recognized through some other contest. Students can find rules and forms at

The coordinator observes, “We went to an online-only submission process for this year since all Batesville Community School Corp. and St. Louis students in the eligible grades are covered by 1:1 computing initiatives.”

“My advice would be to pick a piece of writing that they are proud of, have a friend or family member read over it for any revision or proofreading ideas, and then send it in according to the directions on the contest Web site.”

Judges come from one of two backgrounds: “They either have an English degree with professional writing/teaching/editing experience, or they are published writers (not surprisingly, there is some overlap) ...” Persons interested in judging may contact Hartz at

Debbie Blank can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.