Heights High senior artist wins portfolio award

Shannon Berr with one of his portfolio pieces that received a Gold Key Award.

In the 2017 Cuyahoga County Scholastic Art Competition, Heights High senior Shannon Berr won a Gold Key award for his eight-piece portfolio, as well as five Silver Key and four Honorable Mention awards.

Six other Heights High student artists also won awards. Linnea Covault won a Gold Key and an Honorable Mention, Jenna Dent won a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention, and David Matia, Tylar McDowell, Lisa Ware and Gilda Weinstock won Honorable Mentions.

“Shannon’s Gold Key award for an entire portfolio is a fantastic accomplishment,” said his art teacher Nancy Eisenberg. “This is a significant award and we are very proud of him!”

Berr enjoys working on large-format multimedia pieces as well as three-dimensional sculptures, using wood and other materials.

In addition to receiving one of the region’s highest art awards, Berr also completed his high school course work with a 3.8 GPA.

“I attended the Options program this year to finish my courses,” said Berr. “I developed techniques to focus on the work, basically zoning out of everything else and getting it done.” He worked closely with Eisenberg during first semester to complete his portfolio.

Berr has two “disabilities,” dyslexia and dysgraphia, that make a traditional classroom challenging for him.

“In school these are learning disabilities but in the real world, they are learning differences,” he said. “Everything that I have done is because I am dyslexic.”

Berr said he is grateful to the school and to Eisenberg for guiding him through his high school courses and [the creation of] his portfolio.

As a sophomore, he began the process of being identified as gifted in the fine arts, an Ohio Department of Education (ODE) designation. The process involved an initial screening by his art teacher, Eisenberg, followed by a team review of a portfolio, approval by district administrators and final approval by the ODE.

This spring Berr is interning with local artists at A Piece of Cleveland (APOC), a wood shop that uses old-growth timber from Cleveland neighborhoods to create one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture. He will design and build a dining room set for sale in APOC’s shop.

Berr hopes to attend an art college, and major in fashion accessories design, contemporary crafts or fine arts. He has applied to the Cleveland Institute of Art and is very interested in the Detroit College for Creative Studies’ Fashion Accessories Design program.

The 2017 annual Scholastic Art Competition had nearly 3,000 entries. Students who receive Gold Key awards for individual works or portfolios continue on to the national competition held in the spring in New York City.

Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 12:24 PM, 02.20.2017