City Councilmembers led by Steve Levin honored the creative genius of Steven Paul, the high school student behind the photograph that is now a giant billboard located at the George B. Post Plaza at the intersection of Broadway, Bedford Avenue, and South 6th Street, on Monday afternoon.
Paul, a senior at the celebrated Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood, earlier this year, was the winner of a national medal as part of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards that celebrates the work of teenagers in grades 7 through 12 by awarding them scholarships and helping them have their work displayed in a public arena.
Paul’s entry for the competition – a candid black and white portrait of his classmate Nina Attal, sitting in front of a table, her hands placed on top it, resting her chin, as she looks longingly into the distance – won a gold medal as part of the scholarship awards.
Levin along with Councilmember Jumaane Williams presented Paul with a certificate in recognition of his work on Monday afternoon.
“It’s a special privilege to recognize the achievements of Steven Paul,” said Levin. “The mural of his work has been a great addition to the neighborhood and we are lucky to have it in our community. Steven is a remarkable artist and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does in his future endeavors.”
Colossal Media, a Williamsburg-based organization that produces hand-painted murals and outdoor advertising, then used Paul’s image to create the billboard that now stands tall over the George B. Post Plaza.
Paul was one of 230,000 students across the country that had applied for the Scholastic Awards.
Founded in 1923, each year the awards invite students, grades 7 through 12, to submit original works of art in 28 different categories including Architecture, Film & Animation, Journalism, Poetry, and Printmaking.
The organization overseeing the awards, the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, partners with hundreds of visual and literary arts organizations throughout the country to help fund the scholarships and provide platforms for students to showcase their work.
The Alliance helps organize more than 70 exhibits over the year in different parts of the country to showcase the students’ talents – the one in New York being Art.Write.Now – where last year student work was showcased at the Carnegie Hall, Parsons The New School for Design, and the Pratt Manhattan Gallery.
Over $250,000 are awarded through the scholarships each year, and past winners have included luminaries such as Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Avedon, and Ken Burns.
“The 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners have once again blown us away with their talent and vision,” said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. “We know we are meeting tomorrow’s leaders and problem-solvers, so while they are here, we are honored to celebrate their creativity, treat them as professionals by displaying their work and encourage them to share their talent and learn from each other.”