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Country's Largest Single Art Scholarship Awarded
to Brockton, Mass. Senior

Portfolio Series Art Scholarship awarded for creativity
and originality in portfolio development

Flagship, mixed media

Psycnce Fiktion, mixed media

Self-Portrait 2A, drawing

Self-Portrait 3A, drawing

Soldiers from Accounting, drawing

Soldiers from Accounting, sculpture

Ventolin, mixed media

Tom Liska's intrigue with what he views as the incessantly routine suit and tie world has interestingly paid off in dividends for him. Liska, an 18-year-old college bound senior, is the recipient of the $20,000 Portfolio Series Art Scholarship given through The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Liska's portfolio, selected from more than 200,000 entries nationwide for excellence and originality in portfolio development, focused on the black suit imagery of Boston's financial district.

Using mixed media, charcoal, ink, watercolor, drawings and sculpture, Liska created a dark likeness of the average businessman working in a monotonous society. The muted colors, long lines and straight figures encompass Liska's reflection of 21st century business life. Along with the six suit and tie works, Liska also included two self-portrait drawings.

Liska developed his "black suit" portfolio theme while skateboarding on the streets of Boston's financial district. He noticed that everyone was carrying briefcases with cell phones in hand, and realized that a confined business cubicle was not where he wanted to spend his days, so he began to express his feelings through art. "I decided that day that I didn't want to wear a black suit, carry a cell phone and briefcase, and be trapped in a cubicle for eight hours a day," Liska said.

Starting Massachusetts College of Art in the fall, Liska hopes to take what he has learned from his mentor, William Allen and use his "gift of visual arts to convey a sense of thought without saying a word." Liska's work will appear at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. from June 16 to July 17, as part of the 2000 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards exhibition.

In its inaugural year, the Portfolio Series Art Scholarship was offered to students entering the Portfolio division of The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program, the largest and longest running program of its kind in the nation, encouraging and recognizing the artistic talents of students in grades 7-12. This year, The Awards, now in their 77th year, will recognize more than 50,000 students and distribute more than $1 million in scholarships, including the $20,000 Portfolio Series Award. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are administered by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Inc., a not-for-profit organization based in New York City, whose mission is to recognize, encourage and reward young artists and writers.

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