Every year the AAC awards scholarships to graduating art students at EO Smith High School – one for the performing arts, one for the visual arts and now one for literary arts. These students are chosen because they have taken two or more courses in their area; exhibited enthusiasm, interest, honesty, and integrity; and produced quality work viewed or open to the public. The recipients plan on pursuing their interest vocationally or as an avocation.
Our Artists for 2022:
MacKenzie Sherman – Visual Arts
Art is my escape. When life gets hard and uncertain, it’s what I turn to. There is nothing quite like the feeling of holding something you’ve made from scratch with your own two hands. I create to make myself, as well as others, smile. Every few months I love to look back on my old work and see how far I’ve come as an artist. I have come a long way, fighting tooth and nail against my own psyche and came out the better for it on the other side. During my time at E.O. Smith, I’ve shown my artwork at UCONN’s Dodd Center as part of the Artist As Witness exhibit affiliated with ECSU’s NEA BIG READ inspired by Thi Bui’s award winning graphic novel, The Best We Could Do. I also performed in two E.O. Smith Drama Club productions; I played Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland and Mary Warren in The Crucible. On March 12, 2022, I won an Honorable Mention in Acting at the Connecticut Drama Association Festival for my performance as Mary Warren. Now, as I stand a hair’s breadth away from graduation, I hold onto that feeling. We all need an escape sometimes and if my work makes even just one person laugh or smile, that’s all I can ask for.
Emma Jayne Smith – Literary Arts
I am a composer, lyricist, playwright, and director! I’ve spent the last few years pouring my heart and soul into the creation and execution of two original musicals, Oh, Fair Maiden and Antlersong. This year I’ve had the incredible opportunity to produce both shows at local schools. Through this process, I’ve learned about my interest in working with children, and hope to continue directing and teaching theater and music. This summer, I will be music directing The Addams Family at Newington Children’s Theater, and in the fall, I will be attending Sarah Lawrence College and making use of their open curriculum to study music composition, playwriting, directing, and child development. Thank you so much to all of the amazing teachers who have supported me in my endeavors, specifically Denise Abercrombie, who has been an unparalleled artistic advocate. It’s such an honor to be recognized in this community of creative and jaw-droppingly talented people!
Madelyn Bonkowski – Performing Arts
I’m a singer, actor, and director. Theater has always been exciting to me. It’s a safe place for me to go to express myself and showcase my talent. When I do theater, I am always committed to the role, mostly because I find it fun to get in character and to be different people. Every time I am cast as a character in a show, it’s like meeting a whole new person. Even while directing shows, it’s like meeting 20+ new people. The most fun part is making the characters my own. It’s very important to find a connection between you and your character so you can make your character believable. I’ve been doing theater since middle school, and I’ve always taken any chance I could to be a part of theater. I’ve taken coursework in acting, voice, and ensemble singing at E.O. Smith. I’ve appeared in several Drama Club productions. I was in the ensemble of Guys and Dolls and The Dream Rehearsed. I played Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby, Abigail Williams in The Crucible, and Brin and Ro (lead singer) in the debut musical Antlersong. I directed Jason Pizzarello’s Alice in Wonderlandand co-directed/choreographed The Crucible with three other seniors. I was recently accepted into the New England Music Festival Association, and featured at the 2022 New England Music Festival in March. I plan to continue my studies in acting and voice and to pursue a career in musical theater. Overall, theater has helped me incredibly–even in my lowest times, theater was there for me.