Visual Arts

Libby Lynch named 2015-16 TAEA NAHS Sponsor of the Year by Tennessee Art Education Association

The Tennessee Art Education Association has chosen Libby Lynch for the 2015-16 TAEA NAHS Sponsor of the Year. Ms. Libby Lynch established the NAHS chapter 1757 at University School of Jackson in Jackson, TN in 1998. The chapter has been active for seventeen consecutive years. During this time, they have taken numerous field trips, most recently to Nashville where they met with Alan LeQuire to talk about his Athena sculpture and made a studio visit before touring the Frist Center. Their chapter has organized several community art events, including school-wide art festivals and citywide art festivals.

Ms. Lynch was honored with this award at the TAEA Fall Professional Development Conference at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN, during an Awards Dinner on October 29, 2015. The conference is sponsored in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

This award is given to recognize excellence in professional accomplishment and service by a dedicated art educator. Ms. Lynch exemplifies the highly qualified individuals who are in the field of art education today: leaders, teachers, students, scholars, and advocates who give their best to the profession. We are proud to recognize Libby Lynch as our 2015-16 TAEA NAHS Sponsor of the Year.

The Tennessee Art Education Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance quality visual arts education through advocacy, leadership, and professional development and to promote a cohesive professional community. The membership of TAEA includes elementary, middle level and high school art teachers in Tennessee and representatives from Tennessee’s major art museums, arts councils, and major colleges and universities throughout Tennessee.

Briarcrest Regional Art Competition Winners

Congratulations to the following students for their winning entries in the Briarcrest Regional Art Competition

Sarah Carraher
How to Make the World’s Best Paper Plane
3rd place; 11th grade

Sarah Frix
If I am who I am, Then Who am I?
Honorable mention 3; 10th grade

Clayton Hughes
Ordinary to be Extraordinary
4th place; 12th grade

Riley Koerner
Better Days
4th place; 11th grade

3-D Printer Purchased for Art Classes

Middle and Upper School students are learning how to incorporate technological innovations and art through 3-D printing. The Fine Arts Guild at the University School of Jackson purchased a DaVinci XYZ 3-D printer for Anna McPeake’s art classes, and students have been quick to learn how to utilize their new machine.

The printer works through a web-based program called Tinkercad. This is a CAD program that allows students to create and design anything they can think of in an efficient manner. A multitude of shapes are imported to their working planes, and students can reshape, stack or move them where they choose. Once the students have finished their designs, they save them on flash drives. McPeake uploads their projects from the flash drives to the software on her computer in order to print the projects. It takes about three to four hours for the printer to complete the jobs, creating an air of excitement as students check the printing progress of their pieces. The DaVinci XYZ can print multiple projects at once.

The 3-D printer helps teach art students about balance and support. They must first visualize an object and then come up with the best way to achieve their ideas. Students are learning to foresee possible structural issues with their projects and work them out in advance as they grow accustomed to the 3-D printing technology.

USJ is one of the only schools in West Tennessee that has a 3-D printer for their students.

Six students win blue ribbons at Color of Music

Six USJ students won blue ribbons in the Jackson Symphony’s Color of Music contest. They are Elizabeth Sue Barnes, kindergarten, sixth graders Abby Porter and Rachel Hellums, seventh graders Anika Mahajan and Gabrielle Evans, and eighth grader Ansley Hirstein.

Middle School Art Teacher Anna McPeake received an award for having the highest percentage of winning entries in her age group.

Elizabeth Sue Barnes and Keeley Thompson Middle School students Abby Porter, Rachel Hellums, Anika Mahajan, Gabrielle Evans, and Ansley Hirstein.
Lower School student Keeley Thompson won an honorable mention.

The Color of Music is an art competition and educational project for kindergarten through eighth-grade students in the region. Students listen to music and visually interpret what they hear. Entries are judged by the Symphony League.

Art students learn from Parthenon sculptor

Upper School Art Teacher Libby Lynch led a field trip to Nashville to visit the Parthenon and meet the sculptor who created a famous part of the attraction.

Students met renowned sculptor Alan LeQuire, who won the commission to recreate the Athena Parthenos in 1982 — one of the most ambitious public art commissions ever conceived.

The sculpture, which is almost 42 feet tall, is a replica of the statue that once stood in the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. LeQuire’s work was finished and unveiled in the Nashville Parthenon in 1990.

After discussing the project with the artist, students visited LeQuire’s studio and ate a picnic lunch in Centennial Park. They wrapped up their trip with a visit to the Frist Center for Visual Arts to see the Kandinsky exhibit.

“This was an exciting opportunity for our students to actually meet and visit the studio of a nationally recognized sculptor and hear about the history and mythology related to the Athena from the artist who researched it for his recreation,” Lynch said.

Mid-South Scholastic Art Competition

USJ students submitted outstanding artwork to the Mid-South Scholastic Art Competition this year. Twenty-one winning entries were recgnized, including one Gold Key, four Silver Keys, and 16 Honorable Mentions.

Congratulations to the following students: Sarah Pierce, Gold Key; Callie Cantrell, two Silver Keys and two Honorable Mentions; Rachel Hooper, Silver Key and four Honorable Mentions; Kayla Puzdrakiewicz, Silver Key; Neeley Atkins, two Honorable Mentions; Deborah Lee Day, Honorable Mention; Loukas Georgio, Honorable Mention; Jack Goodwin, Honorable Mention; Laura Mantooth, two Honorable Mentions; Clare Robertson, Honorable Mention; Carson Rogers, Honorable Mention; and Brylee Whitsitt, Honorable Mention.

West Tennessee Regional Student Art Competition

Several students had artwork accepted into the West Tennessee Regional Student Juried Art Competition. Their artwork will be on display at the Art Center in Humboldt January 12 through February 27.

Congratulations to Harrison Baker, Deborah Lee Day, Mary Helen English, Loukas Georgio, Hope Magee, Ally McFarland, Sarah Pierce, Kayla Puzdrakiewicz, Jordan Stewart, Maddie Studtmann, Samantha Sullivan, Lydia Woods, and Alannah Yellen.

Congratulations also to Middle School students Olivia Clarke, Patrick Evans, and Felix Nnaji.

Samantha and Patrick won first-place awards in their categories, and Olivia earned an honorable mention​. Deborah Lee also won Best Video, "Zero is Not a Size."

First Place in Regional Level of Congressional Art Competition

Congratulations to Maddie Studtmann who won first place in the regional level of the Congressional Art Competition. Her work will be displayed in Washington, D.C.

2014 Congressional Art Competition

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in the 2014 Congressional Art Competition are USJ students!  First place is Maddie Studtman for “Arghh!”, second place is Jacob Denbrock for “Mechanic,” and third place is “Skeleton” by Isabella Edwards.

Students recognized for artwork

USJ students received art awards at the Jackson Symphony League’s Color of Music ceremony on April 12.

Blue Ribbon winners were seventh graders Allie Crowley and Shereen Haji, and eighth-grader Darielle Prewitt. All are in Anna McPeake’s art class. Allie’s piece is called “Dance,” Shereen’s is “A Musical Beauty,” and Darielle’s is “Colors of Wind.”

First-grader Mia Webb in Darlene Tanner’s class won an honorable mention. Her artwork is called “The Magic of Art.”

Each student won a Color of Music T-shirt and a ticket to the Jackson Symphony’s Masterworks Concert, Joy in Unity.

USJ was one of 21 schools from Madison, Crockett, Haywood, Gibson and Weakly Counties that participated. Students submitted more than 7,000 entries, and 313 were chosen as finalists. Judges awarded 45 Blue Ribbons and eight Honorable Mentions. All finalists’ artwork can be viewed online at

Middle School Spring Art Show

Middle School students will show their artwork in the foyer of the gymnasium and Blankenship Theatre during the end-of-the-year awards ceremony on May 14.

“It’s nice for them to be able to show off the hard work they’ve done, and this should allow everyone to see it,” said Middle School Art Teacher Anna

Each Middle School student has been encouraged to participate in the Middle School’s annual art show.

McPeake expects eighth graders to contribute 70-80 pieces and sixth and seventh graders to contribute up to 150 pieces.

“We will be surrounded by student artwork. I think everyone will be impressed by how much talent our Middle School students have.”

Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards

Congratulations to the following students who placed in the Mid-South Scholastic Art Competition:

  • Alannah Yellen, grade 9, won a Silver Key for her sculpture, “The Harp Angel.”         
  • Lauren Randolph, grade 12, won a Silver Key for her drawing, “Dad's Old Combat Boot.”
  • Sarah Carraher, grade 9, won an Honorable Mention for her sculpture, “Heal.”         

As an Affiliate of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, the Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards honors exemplary art by students in seventh through 12th grades, recognizing their outstanding achievements in a competitive annual exhibition and providing cash prizes and scholarship opportunities.

USJ students featured in area art exhibits

The Bank of Jackson on Oil Well Road featured artwork from students at USJ, JCS, Trinity and Sacred Heart. USJ students with art on display included Kate Petrinjak, Sarah Carraher, Sarah Pierce, Maddie Studtmann, Alannah Yellen, Bailey Cozart, Claire Jaggers, Hope Magee, Luokas Georgio, Clayton Hughes, Mattie Boyd, Samantha Sullivan, and Jessica Garland.

The West Tennessee Regional Juried Student Art Exhibit included artwork from Harrison Baker, Sarah Carraher, Rebecca Cloar, Jacob Denbrock, Isabella Edwards, Madeline Koester, Sheffiga Rose, Jordan Stewart, Samantha Sullivan, Alannah Yellen, Mattias Chalikias, Sarah Frix, Shereen Haji, Hope Smith, and Zander Threet.

West Tennessee Regional Student Art Competition

Four students from USJ won awards at the West Tennessee Regional Student Art Competition.

Rebecca Cloar won first place in the sculpture category and received an honorable mention in the drawing category. Sarah Carraher won third place in mixed media, Madeline Koester was third place in sculpture, and Shereen Haji received an honorable mention in mixed media.

The statewide, juried art competition received 361 entries, and USJ’s Middle and Upper School students created 19 of the 159 accepted entries. Congratulations to the following students who also had work accepted into the competition: Harrison Baker, Mattias Chalikias, Jacob Denbrock, Isabella Edwards, Sarah Frix, Sheffiga Rose, Hope Smith, Jordan Stewart, Samantha Sullivan, Zander Threet and Alannah Yellen.

Libby Lynch to Attend 2014 Tennessee Arts Academy

USJ Upper School Art Instructor Libby Lynch was selected as a facilitator for the 2014 Tennessee Arts Academy next summer in Nashville.

Libby will concentrate on the upper, middle, and secondary visual art area. She has been involved with the academy — as a participant or facilitator — for numerous years. Last year she served as coordinator for the Best of the Best Student Art Exhibit, which was part of the event.

A program of the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Arts Academy has been held annually since 1987 on the campus of Belmont University. The academy, which will be July 13-18, trains more than 275 K-12 teachers and administrators, who impact more than 125,000 students in classrooms across the state.

Highlights of the academy include live performances, daily speeches by well-known artists and educators, and multiple art exhibitions.

Congressional Art Competition 2013

Congratulations to our visual art students who won awards in the Congressional Art Competition 2013. Andrea Arreaza won a first-place award, Todd Moon won second place, Sarah Mantooth won third, and Mattie Boyd won honorable mention.

"Connections" Juried Teacher Competition

Upper School Fine Arts Teacher Libby Lynch has had two pieces accepted into the Tennessee Art Education Association's "Connections" Juried Teacher Competition. “My Creative Muse,” a female bust, won an honorable mention in this show. The pieces will be on display during the month of July at Belmont University in Nashville.

USJ excels at Mid-South Art Competition

USJ students earned top honors at the prestigious Mid-South Art Competition — a juried exhibition with 1,734 individual works of art and 122 portfolios.

Emily Mitchell received a Gold Key and the American Visions Award, which came with a special cash prize. Kim Ballard won a Gold Key, a Silver Key, and an honorable mention.

Also earning Silver Keys were Callie Cantrell, Sarah Mantooth, and Hannah Woodward. Selena Bright, Riley Koerner, Alannah Yellen, Todd Moon, and Dana Viveros won honorable mentions.

The Gold and Silver Key winners had their work displayed at the Memphis Brooks Museum for a month.

Regional Art Competition

Several students from USJ were recognized at the 5th Annual West Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition.

Cameron Briley won a ninth-grade honorable mention; Mattie Boyd had two pieces accepted and won an honorable mention in sculpture, and Alan Wilms won second place for photography.

Lauren Randolph, Katie Robertson, Samantha Sullivan, Jacob Denbrock, Catherine Adkins, Hannah Woodward, and Austin Wilms also had work accepted into the competition. 

2012 Congressional Art Contest

Grant Whitsitt placed first in Madison County for Congressional Art Contest, and Katie Robertson received an honorable mention. Grant's entry, at left, will now compete at the Regional Level.


USJ Excels at 2012-2013 Mid-South Art Competition

USJ students earned top honors at the prestigious Mid-South Art Competition – a juried exhibition with 1,734 individual works of art and 122 portfolios. Judges awarded 84 gold key, 122 silver keys, and 220 honorable mentions, from which USJ received two gold keys, four silver keys and six honorable mentions. Emily Mitchell received a gold key and the American Visions Award, which came with a special cash prize. Kim Ballad won USJ’s other gold key, as well as a silver key and an honorable mention. Other silver key winners include Callie Cantrell, Sarah Mantooth, and Hannah Woodward. Selena Bright, Todd Moon, Dana Viveros, Riley Koerner, and Alannah Yellen all won honorable mentions. The gold and silver key winners will have their work displayed at the Memphis Brooks Museum from Jan. 26 to Feb. 17. The awards ceremony will be Feb. 2.

Students Recognized in 2012-2013 Regional Art Competition

Several students from USJ were recognized at the 5th Annual West Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition. A Jan. 27 awards reception is scheduled for the juried competition from 2 to 4 p.m. at the West Tennessee Regional Art Center in Humboldt. Congratulations to Lauren Randolph, Katie Robertson, Samantha Sullivan, Jacob Denbrock, Hannah Woodward, Austin Wilms, and Catherine Adkins, whose work was accepted into the competition. Additionally, Cameron Briley won a 9th grade honorable mention, Mattie Boyd had two pieces accepted and won an honorable mention in sculpture, and Alan Wilms won 2nd place for photography. For more information about the competition, visit

2011-2012 Student Art Work

This slideshow contains samples of student art work throughout the 2011-2012 school year. USJ art students have the opportunity to work with a variety of materials.


Past Student Art Work

This slideshow contains samples of student art work from past years.