XENIA TOWNSHIP — A stop-action animation film with Legos has vaulted Xenia Township teenager Sullivan Manning into some impressive company.
Sullivan Manning, 13, received a National Gold Award in the 2017 Scholastic Art and Writing competition for “Unfortunate Man’s Museum Visit,” joining the likes of former winners Andy Warhol, Robert Redford, and Lena Dunham.
The contest, which features several categories, is presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. There are regional and national rounds and more than 330,000 seventh-12th graders entered. Manning will be honored with the other national winners at the awards ceremony Thursday, June 8 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Manning’s project featured nearly 10,000 pictures, which he edited with sound to produce the 4:48 film, which can be viewed on Youtube at http://bit.ly/2ptyHnq.
“I wasn’t expecting really to win,” Manning said. “Everybody really likes my stuff. I’ve never really been happy with how it turns out. It was crazy that I won.”
Manning also won a Regional American Visions Award nomination, which is awarded to the top five best in show. The nomination is usually given to 11th and 12th graders, but he received the nomination as a seventh grader.
“That was probably the coolest thing,” Manning said. “I didn’t expect to get something like that. It makes me feel really good.”
“Unfortunate Man” is a regular Lego character that Manning uses. He developed the museum theme because it was an art contest. It took Manning a few months to complete the film, but by his own admission, he “kind of dragged it out a little bit.”
Sullivan said he plans on doing another project with “Unfortunate Man.”
“It was a cool experience,” he said.
Success wasn’t just limited to Sullivan Manning, however.
Older sister, Sheridan “Noël” Manning, 15, won regional gold, silver, and two honorable mentions for her charcoal artworks. She was also a regional gold winner last year in the same competition. Her gold artwork was sent to New York City as a national qualifier to be judged.
“I was pretty excited to win of course,” she said. “I was surprised in the order that they won. Some of them I thought would do better and some that I didn’t think were as good actually did better. It was pretty cool to see the pieces that were chosen.”
The regional gold was of a picture of her friend, Lauren Smith. The silver medal picture was of a girl making a “fish face.”
Even though she didn’t win nationally, Noël said she was happy just to have qualified, especially since using charcoal is fairly new to her.
“I like to get very detailed,” she said. “I started out drawing with pencil. (Charcoal is) chunkier. The pencil you can get fine detail. The charcoal has a different feel to it. It’s not as fine and detailed as the pencil is. It’s just a little harder.”
Noël is a commissioned artist, and has had works displayed in multiple shows and exhibits, and has been published four times. She will also be participating as a volunteer artist in Life Essential’s Chalk About It charity fundraiser Saturday, June 10 at the Greene in Beavercreek for the second year in a row.
“For now it’s just sort of a hobby,” she said.
The Scholastic Art and Writing Competition was founded in 1923, and is the longest-running, most prestigious art competition in the country. As part of the awards ceremony, two art exhibits will be held Friday, June 9 at the Parson’s School of Design, and the Pratt Institute with film screenings being held throughout the day. The Empire State Building will also be illuminated in gold to honor all winners from the regional and national levels.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.