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Poultney teen receives award for photography

May 14, 2015
In The News

Rutland Herald

Martin VanBuren III is having a pretty good week. He received an award Monday for his photography and is expecting to receive an award Saturday for one of his films.

VanBuren, 18, a senior at Poultney High School, received Rep. Peter Welch’s, (D-Vt.,) Choice Award for his photograph, “The Interior of Dreams” as part of the 34th annual Congressional Art Competition in Montpelier. 

“To me, this photograph captures a moment of joy,” Welch said in a email. “Although the subject’s face is sharp and in focus, the piece is full of movement. I was also impressed with Martin’s controlled use of light and color.”

His photo is a dreamlike, golden portrait of a fellow classmate, Libby Marcy. VanBuren described the picture as an interpretation of the subject’s dream — a fusion between the dream world and reality.

“I wasn’t expecting to get there and have any of our pieces be selected for anything,” VanBuren said. “When I got there, all our pieces of artwork were hanging up, and mine had the Welch ribbon on it, which was pretty shocking to me.”

VanBuren was one of five students from the high school who went to the capital with their art teacher, Melissa Kristiansen. VanBuren’s mother, Marcie VanBuren, accompanied the group, not knowing that her son had received the award.

“We were very thrilled,” she said. “We saw it on the news as well.”

His work, along with works by his classmates, was displayed at The Gallery at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. Seniors Libby Marcy and Emma Dailey and sophomores Elizabeth Posch and Eva Nichols were also featured in the show.
“I’m unbelievably proud of him and all of them,” Kristiansen said.

VanBuren said his interest in photography started back in middle school during a required art class. He continued taking classes and “really got into editing” and focused all of his time on it, he said. 

“Even if I took a photo I wasn’t proud of, I could edit it so I can be proud of it,” he said.

VanBuren said he will have one of his films shown on Saturday at the Freedom & Unity TV awards ceremony at Randolph High School. The film competition from Freedom and Unity TV encourages students, 14 to 18, to tell their Vermont stories.

His film, “The Scarecrow — A Haunting in Vermont,” is a horror movie about a mystery surrounding a scarecrow on Halloween, he said.

“The competition is taking place during prom; unfortunately, it’s one of the sacrifices I’m having to do to pursue this” VanBuren said. “It could lead me to higher things that could be more beneficial.”

He said he will be attending Castleton State College in the fall to study communications, although he hasn’t yet decided what specific area he will study.

The art competition featured artwork from 141 Vermont high school students from 33 schools. 

“I am so impressed by the talent and creativity of these young Vermont artists,” Welch said in a news release. “Their work continues Vermont’s storied tradition of artistic excellence, and is a reflection of our state’s first-rate art programs.”

The competition was started by Rep. Jim Jeffords in 1981 as a way to celebrate the artistic talent of the nation, according to a news release. 

The winning artwork from each participating congressional district will be displayed in Cannon Tunnel at the U.S. Capitol for one year. This year, students in 420 districts submitted work.