2020 Student Award Announced

May 4, 2020Members' Area, News

Mara Heppard. See below for a gallery of her work.

Mara Heppard, who will graduate from Penfield High School in June, will receive the Penfield Art Association student award for 2020. The annual award is given to a PHS student who shows excellence in visual art.

In past years, the student selected for this award would show their work at the Penfield Art Association’s Spring Show. However, the show is cancelled this year due to the coronavirus health crisis.

Mara, the daughter of Penfield residents Cynthia and Brian Heppard, will enter the University of Rochester this fall majoring in digital media studies. Mara says that in her art  “. . . I strive to capture an essence and sense of purpose within a specific moment.”  One of her favorite projects during her high school career in art was a video that she made about her father’s passion for fly fishing. According to Mara, “The project was based on the YouTube series ‘Great Big Story.’ It was fun working with my dad, who also enjoys working with cameras.”  (To view this video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibbPY69x3F8&t=4s.)

Mara says that she has always enjoyed art but knew that she wanted to pursue it in college in her early years in high school. Besides being very interested in videography and photography, she enjoys drawing, painting and ceramics. She would like to thank all of her high school art teachers for guiding and encouraging her for the last four years. 

Besides being talented in art, Mara is an accomplished field hockey player and has been a member of the Penfield varsity team all four years in high school, two of those years as a team captain and two years as a Most Valuable Player. 

PAA has presented a cash award to a PHS senior each year since 1976. The student is selected by Penfield High School’s art faculty. Formed in 1963, the Penfield Art Association today has more than 100 members from throughout the Rochester area. The organization is open to artists of all skill levels and people interested in the two-dimensional visual arts.

Here is Mara’s Artist Statement, followed by a gallery of her work, including drawings, paintings, photography and other projects.

Artist Statement: Mara Heppard

“When I was little, my family had a “drawing table” located in the middle of our small green kitchen. It was a brown, tri-leaf, folding table. From ages 2-5, I would climb up in my highchair and draw for what seemed like hours and hours at a time. There were always an endless supply of colorful construction paper to choose from and a bin full of Crayola crayons and colored pencils. Christmas was my favorite holiday because I could always look forward to getting a new pack of fresh-smelling markers.

“Since then, the drawing table has been folded up and moved to our basement. The other day I was downstairs and I saw it sitting in the corner of the room. Looking at it now, it’s really only the 5 feet long and the height of my waist. But when I was little, the table was my personal kingdom, and I was the creator.

“Since then, I’ve always enjoyed art and loved doing school projects where I got to draw or use my imagination to create an answer. I am glad to have graduated from the generic art classes offered in elementary and middle schools so I could move on to elective art classes in high school. It was in these elective classes that I was finally able to hone in on specific skills, from filmmaking, to drawing, to 3D art in ceramics.

“To me, I use art as a way to capture a moment. I take inspiration from the active brushstrokes in the impressionist movement, especially in my paintings. I appreciate the way artists use color to capture the emotions and feelings of a scene and I seek to convey that in my own work. Through my art, I strive to capture an essence and sense of purpose within a specific moment.

“It is with all my hope that I will continue to study art in college and pursue a career in design. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all my art teachers for inspiring me to create with a purpose.”


Mara Heppard